Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Raining Tomatoes

I have an incredible luck with tomato plants. Either that, or they are just not a fussy vegetable to grow. I conveniently opt to believe in the former, but it wasn't just the beginner's luck that resulted in summer-long bountiful crop when I planted tomatoes last year. You got a glimpse of my garden here and the recipe for an aromatic tomato-basil bread. I kept plucking a couple of tomatoes here and there for sandwiches or curries, but what do you do with a bucketful of tomatoes at the peak of ripeness all at once?! The tomato plants in my garden are flourishing, although the same can not be said about zucchini and jalapeno. On the bright side, I can think of a hundred different recipes to use up the tomatoes - these many jalapenos would've been another story!

After contemplating between Italian and Mexican dishes, I circled back to what I knew the best - Mom's Tomato Rice recipe! Our fridge was almost always stocked with tomatoes and this dish appeared on dinner table in between mom's grocery visits. The monsoon season especially created scarcity of fresh vegetables and a soulful rice dish out of something readily available was a great dinner option. A serving of steaming tomato rice with home-made curd and spicy-salty pickle on the side made me a happy camper. I loved the preparation of fragrant basmati rice cooked in a rich roasted coconut-onion paste with a whiff of whole spices and of course, tomatoes!  The puff of steam, as I was cooking the rice yesterday, filled my kitchen with familiar aromas my mom's saree would pick up in the kitchen and it gave me a warm-fuzzy feeling of being somewhere very comfortable :).

Tomato Rice

1 Cup Basmati rice
4-5 large or 8-10 small tomatoes
1 Heaping tablespoons fresh grated coconut
1 Small onion
1-2 Green chilies
~ 1 Teaspoon Garam masala
1 Bay leaf/7-8 Curry leaves
7-8 Black pepper corns
3-4 Cloves
1 Tablespoon oil
Salt to taste

  • Cook tomatoes in boiling water until the skin peels off. Strain the tomatoes (save the broth) and puree.
  • Wash rice and keep aside. This helps cook the rice faster. 
  • In a cooking pot, roast chopped onion for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, add grated coconut and let it get toasty. Grind the roasted onion, coconut and garam masala into a paste. You can use cumin-coriander powder if you don't have garam masala. 
  • In the same pot, heat oil, add pepper corn, cloves, bay leaf or curry leaves (I enjoy flavors of both - add either based on your preference), slit green chilies and let them roast for a few seconds.
  • Add the coconut-onion paste, rice, tomato puree, 2 cups of water (I use the broth of cooked tomatoes) and cook on medium heat covered. Stir the rice occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom and add water little by little if needed until the rice is cooked.

This rice is very fragrant from the whole spices. Green chilies provide just enough heat to balance the sweet-citrus-y taste of tomatoes. Roasted onions and coconut are subtle and heighten the flavors of the dish. Enjoy!


stringOfPearls said...

those are lovely tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are an incredible thing

stringOfPearls said...

oh and what type are these?

Snehal said...

The red+green remind me of Christmas! These are roma tomatoes. Some of them are smaller than the others - could be a result of uneven sunlight/watering.

Priyanka said...

Heyy, somehow I don't get notifications of your blog posts on my dashboard :(. Now when I visit your place, I feel like I missed so many of awesome posts! About this one, one word, Drooling!! Its so pretty n I'm sure it must have been super delicious! Trying this out soon!

P.S. L.O.V.E. the picture quality!

Deeps said...

Ahh..forgot to get those from you the other day!! Its hard to resist for me to not plant anything right now..I guess I should make you my official tomato supplier.. :P
Looking good!! Lovely pics..

Tanvi@SinfullySpicy said...

What gorgeous color of tomatoes and rice--love it!


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