Tamatar Chaval/Tomato Rice

Submitted by

Evelyn Richter (Eastern Michigan University)

Story behind this recipe

I learned this recipe from Devaki Shamarayar who was like a mother to me when I was in India.


1.5 cups rice
3 cups water
1/2 in ginger
1-2 small green chilis (or dried red chilis)
1/2 onion
2 tomatoes
2 tsp channa dhal (type of lentils)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida
Oil for frying (I like sesame oil, but I also use olive oil)
Salt to taste

Cooking time

ca. 25 min

Serving size


Measuring units


Cooking Instructions

1. Wash the rice and drain all the water.
2. Add 3 cups of water to the rice and cook until soft and all water is evaporated. Set aside and let cool for some time. (Cooling is important so that the rice will not mash up when you stir in the rest of the ingredients later.)
3. Cut ginger, onion, green chilis and tomatoes finely and keep aside separately. (If you use dried red chilis, don't cut them, I usually just break them in half.)
4. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the channa dhal and the ginger until golden brown.
5. Add chilis, asafoetida and mustard seeds and fry briefly. (Mustard seeds will begin popping.)
6. Add onions and fry until a bit brown, at least glassy.
7. Add tomatoes and fry until the tomatoes are fried properly and all the additional water is gone.
8. Add turmeric and salt. Mix well.
9. Mix with the rice.

(I think you can add a bit of tamarind when you fry the tomatoes but I usually don't have any. It comes out fine without it, too.)