2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 curry leaves
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 medium tomatoes (1 lb) chopped fine (about 2 cups when chopped)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika or chili powder (adjust according to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 cup bastmati rice
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust according to taste)
1. Use a 10 inch non-stick skillet that's about 1 1/2 inches deep and has a lid. Heat oil in the skillet, and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add cumin seeds and let sizzle for a few seconds. Then add curry leaves and chopped onion. Cook on medium heat till the onion is lightly brown. Add garlic cloves to the oil, and stir for about a minute. Don't let the garlic brown.
2. Now add chopped tomatoes, turmeric and chili powders to the skillet. Add sugar if using (I like to use a little sugar if the tomatoes are too sour).
3. Cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, till most the liquid is gone, the tomatoes have broken down, and the sauce reduces to about half its original volume. This will take 10-15 minutes. You will land up with just over one cup of tomato-onion sauce.
4. To the reduced sauce, add rice, and salt. Stir on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes. Add water to the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover the skillet and simmer for about 15 minutes, or till the rice is cooked and fluffy. Start checking the rice after 12 minutes to ensure it doesn't over cook.
5. When the rice is done, increase the heat to high. Let the rice sit on high heat for about one minute. This will form a tasty rice crust on the bottom, much like in a paella.
Serve tomato rice with my grandmother’s multi coloredvegetable raita.
6. Optional garnishes for tomato rice - roasted cashews, roasted peanuts, crispy fried onions, or chopped cilantro