Tomato Rice | Thakkali Sadam | Rice Recipes | Tomato Pulao | Lunch Box Recipes


Tomato rice / thakkali sadam, it is a slightly spicy rice dish that is made with tomato, spices and rice. In the Tamil language, ‘thakkali’ means tomato and ‘sadam’ is rice. I love to make a batch of this tomato rice often and serve it for lunch, as it is an ideal dish for packing in a tiffin. It can prepare in few minutes. Tomato Rice- Rice and rice preparations are favorite food in all the states of India, though it is the staple diet of southern India but in many North Indian states rice is also consumed on daily basis. Different variety of rice preparations are made according to individual choice and regional specialty. You can also add some boiled vegetables in it to make it more nutritious. This tomato rice is very good as a quick lunch recipe or tiffin variety or to use as a travel food. You don’t need any accompaniment to go with this. A bowl of yogurt, some salad and papad can be served if you want something to serve along.


  • There are 2 ways to make this rice. One is to boil the rice first or use your leftover rice and then add in the prepared tomato masala.
  • Second is to boil the rice first or use your leftover rice and then add in the prepared tomato masala.


  1. Precook the rice.
  2. Tempering with spices.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomato Saute them until transparent.
  4. Add chilli powder, & turmeric
  5. Add cooked rice and gently mix.
  6. The tomato rice is done. Sprinkle coriander leaves & fluff up the tomato rice with a fork.

When choosing tomatoes to make tomato rice, always lean towards the sourer tomatoes. You can also use Roma tomatoes (known as Bangalore tomatoes in India) but in that case I’d recommend a squeeze of lemon juice for the required tang in the dish. 

Make this easy tomato rice, serve it to loved ones, refrigerate some so you can pack it for lunch the next day. Wrap some up in silver foil or banana leaves for a trip or train journey. It’s so very versatile and convenient.

Watch easy lunch box recipe / tomato rice recipe video.

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Tomato Rice | Thakkali Sadam | Rice Recipes | Tomato Pulao | Lunch Box Recipes

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 20 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



  1. Heat oil and ghee in a pan.

  2. Add fennel seeds and mustard seeds and allow to splutter.

  3. Add thinly sliced onion, green chillies and curry leaves sauté until onion turn translucent.

  4. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté until raw smell goes off.

  5. Add turmeric powder and red chilli powder.

  6. Sauté in medium flame until its raw smell leaves.

  7. Add chopped tomatoes.

  8. Add salt to this tomato rice.

  9. Add salt to this tomato rice.

  10. Do occasional stirring.

  11. Add frozen peas.

  12. Add precooked rice.

  13. Mix gently in low flame.

  14. Add chopped coriander leaves.

  15. Vary tasty tomato rice is ready for packing.

  16. Add some ghee roasted cashew nuts to garnish.

  17. Delicious tomato rice is ready for serving.


  • you can make this pulao with basmati rice or with any short grain rice of your choice.
  • I used freshly cooked rice, but you can make this recipe with leftover rice as well.
  • you can add other dry veggies like green peas, finely chopped potatoes, mushroom and gobi to prepare vegetable-based tomato rice.
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Gomathi Ramesh

Food Blogger

Hi there! I am Gomathi Ramesh, a full-time food blogger, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and a lovely wife. I come from a family of fantastic cooks and I’m here to share generations of recipes that are homey, fresh, healthy, family-friendly, authentic, and adventurous. Most importantly, our recipes taste great and you can trust that they actually work.

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