Rice is the staple diet of most south Indians , so much so that it's harvest in Tamil Nadu is celebrated as a major festival - Pongal , which also coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India .Pongal is traditionally dedicated to the Sun God Surya. Tamils thank the Sun God for the good harvest and consecrate the first grain to him .
I have eaten tomato rice many times , each time it differs from what I have eaten previously . I guess every family / restaurant has their own version of tomato rice ,which is true of most recipes . Whatever the recipe , the result has always been fantastic .
The quantities in this recipe are approximates , adjust them to suit your palate .
1 Tablespoon each of Ghee and Sesame / Gingely Oil.
300 Grams Rice . I prefer to use a non basmati variety .
4 Large Tomatoes .
200 Grams Green Peas / Paneer . ( or whatever you fancy ! )
Blanche the tomatoes , peel off the skins . Liquidise 3 , coarsely chop one .
For The Masaala :
A pinch 0f Hing / Asafoetida .
20-30 Curry Leaves / Curry Putta.
1 1/2 Teaspoons Rai / Fine Red Mustard Seeds .
1 Bay Leaf / Tej Putta.
2 Large Black Cardamons .
10-15 Whole Black Pepper Corns.
1 One Inch Stick Cinnamon .
1 Tablespoon Channa Dal ( uncooked ! )
2 Tablespoons Ginger & Garlic ( finely diced ).
2 Medium Onions Chopped .
4-6 Green Chilies ( chopped thick ).
Heat oil , add the hing , let it sizzle for 10 seconds then add curry putta let it discolor - 10 second , then in goes the rai , once the rain stops bouncing all over add all the other herbs and spice including the dal .
In 30 seconds or so you will get that wonderful warm aroma which tells you that the spice / herbs are done and ready to receive the ginger , onion , garlic and green chillies . Cook till onions go limp but not brown - maybe a minute .
Now add the tomatoes add salt and some red chili powder . Cover wok and let it all cook till you don't get that raw tomato smell and its a thick but watery gravy . Then in go the vegetables . Toss them around for a minute or so . Add approximately one cup boiling hot water , then the rice .
Mix well and cook covered on low heat till rice is done . You may need to add some water to complete cooking .
Garnish with coriander leaves , eat this wonderful tasty rice with plain curd and maybe some pickle . Poppadoms too !
Salt and the pungency factor to suit your taste buds .