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Delicious Indian Tomato Boortha

Updated on January 2, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen is interested in food, diet, and creating recipes, as she has prepared family meals and organised church and home functions.

Tasty Tomato Boortha and Simple Coconut Rice
Tasty Tomato Boortha and Simple Coconut Rice | Source

Tasty Comfort Food

A tasty comfort food that is also healthy is not always easy to find. This vegetarian recipe comes from India and is both tasty and a comfort food and it is versatile; it can be used as either a main meal or as a side dish. As a main meal served with plain or coconut rice it is delicious. It is one of my favourite comfort foods.

When I was first married we had some Indian friends and then my father-in-law, who had worked in India as a tea-planter in the 1920s, gave me a book written in English by an Indian chef. It was intended for ex-pats living in India and I found it most interesting. This recipe for Tomato Boortha is not in the book, although some similar ones are there. This was given to me by a friend and while there are many Indian recipes that are far more complicated and expensive, the beauty of this is that it is truly delicious, nutritious, simple to prepare and economical.

Before You Begin

  • If you dislike chillies it is fine to simply omit them and it will still taste great.
  • Tinned tomatoes can be substituted for fresh ones, if you are in a hurry.
  • It is not difficult to find organic produce to use in this recipe.
  • For the best results use the best quality produce.
  • If you know how to grate a fresh coconut, the flavour is far superior to desiccated coconut.
  • If you use desiccated coconut, the fine variety works best in this recipe.
  • The times given below are approximate; the rice can easily be cooked in this time, too.
  • Traditional Indian cooks do not weigh and measure, but judge the amount of ingredients needed and with a little practice this works well with this recipe.

5 stars from 3 ratings of Indian dish - Tomato Boortha

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: As Main Meal: Serves four; Side dish: Serves six


  • 750 grams ripe tomatoes, skins removed
  • 3 brown onions, chopped finely
  • ½ cup coconut, desiccated or finely grated fresh
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or butter, (olive oil is fine)
  • 3 red, green or pickled chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dhye (natural curds), (plain yoghurt works well)


  1. Scald the tomatoes, slip off the skins and discard; cut into small pieces.
  2. Gently sauté the chopped onion and chillies in the olive oil. Cook, but do not brown the onion.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer until cooked.
  4. Fold in the coconut and yoghurt and warm, but do not bring to the boil.
  5. Season with a little salt, if desired.
  6. As a main dish, serve with plain steamed rice or simple coconut rice.
The Main Ingredients
The Main Ingredients | Source
Simple Coconut Rice
Simple Coconut Rice | Source

The Rice

Plain Rice: If you do not have a rice cooker, the traditional Indian food way works well with unpolished Patna rice. For hungry folk, half a cup of rice per person is sufficient.

  1. Wash the rice several times in cold water to remove loose starch. Drain in a colander.
  2. Tip the cleaned rice into a cooking pot.
  3. Add boiling water so that it is twice as deep as the rice. If desired, salt may be added.
  4. Cover with a close-fitting lid and place on a slow fire until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  5. Tip the rice into the colander and pour about half a cup of cold water over it to separate the grains.
  6. Drain well and place the rice in a serving dish.

Simple Coconut Rice:

For about half a kilogram (1 lb.) of rice use the following ingredients:

  • 1 Litre (about 2 pints; 2 400-Ml tins is a bit less, so use a little less rice) coconut milk
  • 125 g (4 oz.) ghee or butter (oil is OK, but the taste will be different)
  • 4 dessertspoons chopped onions

Sauté the onion in the ghee, add rice, coconut milk and enough boiling water for the liquid to be twice the height of the rice. Salt may be added if desired. Stir, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked (a grain should squash between the fingers).

How to Eat Indian Food

Traditionally, fingers are used for eating Indian food, and children love the excuse to do this. It needs a little practice, as only the fingers of the right hand are used and the food must not touch the palm of the hand. A finger-bowl with clean water and a napkin should be provided. Spoons and forks are also admissible.



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    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      As you love the heat, the recipe will be more authentic for you. Thank you for your vote - hope you enjoy the dish!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      This looks absolutely delicious.. Love all the ingredients and we love hot peppers. Voting up and pinning on my recipe section.

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Claudia Tello: It is simple to make and one of my favourites. I hope you have fun making it and enjoy the results, too.

      iswaryaa22: Thank you. Homemade foods are the best. Then you know exactly what has gone into it instead of all the additives that seem to go into bought things these days. Thank you so much for your sharing and votes.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      8 years ago from Chennai, India

      A well-written recipe with clear instructions and tasty photos! This is one of my favorite homemade foods. I am a big fan of anything that involved tomatoes and coconut. Rated your recipe 5 stars! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      8 years ago from Mexico

      This dish looks very appetizing and simple to make. I love coconut in my food! As I am becoming more and more a vegetarian, your recipe comes in great to expand my repertoire and have a warm meal in a cold day like the ones I'll be facing this season.

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Rusticliving: Thank you for the follow and the lovely comments. An old schoolfriend came to lunch today and I made it once again (with enough left over for me to have tonight! She has to eat gluten free meals and loved it.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Liz Rayen 

      8 years ago from California

      Blossom, this looks amazing! I could almost taste and smell it while reading the ingredients and instructions. I'm definitely bookmarking this into my recipe folder! Nicely done. Thank you for sharing! Thumbs up and shared! Lisa

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      RTalloni: Oil works well. I haven't tried it with coconut oil, but I'm sure it would taste good.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Though I must replace the butter with coconut oil I'm looking forward to giving this a try. It sounds wonderful!

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Lipnancy: I'm glad it looks good - it tastes even better. Thank you for your comment.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      9 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      How very beautiful! Your picture makes it look so good.

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for your comment, Eddy. It's easy and worth a try, I love it, especially with natural yoghurt.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      Mmmm never heard of this dish but I have now and another addition to my recipe book.

      Thank you Blossom for sharing another great recipe.


    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: I would agree with those food choices! Now it's Spring here, I've been planting some different kinds of tomato seeds in pots. It's such fun watching them coming up - and imagining the lovely flavour of the 'millions' I expect to harvest :-)

      Hypenbird: There are several different versions of coconut rice, this is one of the simpler, but they all taste great and are terrific comfort food.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      9 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Coconut rice is one of the world's greatest foods. I certainly will make this dish. We always love to try new foods. thank you very much.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      9 years ago

      My second food love is tomato (chocolate is my first). I love the sweetness and flavor it adds to any dish. I know that this is a recipe I would truly enjoy. Interesting bit of trivia on how best to eat Indian Food.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      9 years ago from Upstate, New York

      My sisters boyfriend often has us over for a wonderful authentic Indian meal and I always enjoy it. I will be showing him this. If I'm lucky, maybe it will be part of the next feast!

    • dobo700 profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Nice recipe, I will have to give this one I go :)

    • vibesites profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      This is really mouthwatering! I've never heard of Bootha before but I think I will like this, as I have a palate for Asian flavors. Thanks for sharing your recipe. :)

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      9 years ago from Austin, TX

      I love anything with tomatoes, so this will surely be a hit for me. Thanks for sharing your recipe BlossomB. :)

    • shara63 profile image


      9 years ago from Delhi

      BlossomSB, thankyou for sharing this wonderful recepe over here ...Its really very tasty & easy to cook dish and we indians love this for its taste and simple method of preparation .

      Please one thing, that instead of boortha this is pronounced as 'Bhurta' or 'Bharta' which means 'Crushed finely or ground to small bits..... I'm Sorry BlossomSB, here i never mean to disregard you as you are very very respectable to me and i simply want to make you know the correct Hindi /Urdu term that is Bhurta or Bharta... and i'm sure you will not take it other ways, thankyou! ....: shara

    • flashmakeit profile image


      9 years ago from usa

      Thank you for the recipe, I am going to try making this tasty dish.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I have never heard of Boortha but it sounds good to me. Thank's for sharing..

    • profile image

      Marcia Ours 

      9 years ago

      I love coconut. Never tried it in rice, but it sounds good! Here recently, I tried coconut chicken at an oriental restaurant. Always wanted to, and it was really good!

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      jessiefutch: I love it too and the two dishes went well yesterday for lunch. Pity I don't have some left for today.

      Faith Reaper: Bless you. They really are easy recipes with few ingredients. I'd love to hear if you make it and if you liked it.

      LaThing: Do try. For me, it is real comfort food.

      Livingsta: This time I made the dhye (the curds), but they're very mild. I think I like it best with the tang of the yoghurt.

      Frank Atanacio: Did you really do it? I'd love to know if you liked it.

      North Wind: It is delicious and kind to elderly tummies, too, which is a great bonus.

      ImKarn23: What a lovely name! I hope your soon to be daughter-in-law enjoys it.

      Amaryllis: It is, do try!

      aviannovice: It is both satisfying and nutritious. Glad you enjoyed the read.

      Gypsy Rose Lee: Bless you! I hope those you pass it on to enjoy it, too.

      writer20: Thank you for reading and your comments, dear Joyce.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      9 years ago from Southern Nevada

      This recipe does sound very good, Thank you for sharing.

      Vote up useful and very interesting, Joyce.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      9 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Sounds good to me. Thanks for sharing and passing this on.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      9 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I love it! This sounds so wonderful and nutritious, too.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 

      9 years ago from New Hampshire

      Sounds delicious!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      9 years ago

      passing this on to my soon to be daughter in law - a graduate of nutritional sciences and a hardcore vegetarian!

      I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food - but - the name of this reminded me of my grandmother..

      her name was Boortha - i mean Bertha..


    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 

      9 years ago from The World (for now)

      This looks delicious BlossomSB! It also looks very easy to make. That makes it one of the dishes I will soon be trying.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      9 years ago from Shelton

      Okay I rated this a five so I could have it as a main meal for lunch and a side for dinner.. hmm and ready just under an hour yeah I can do this :) LOL

    • livingsta profile image


      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, totally enjoyed. I love coconut rice, mum used to make it when we were kids. The tomato recipe is new to me. Definitely going to try as it is very easy! Thank you for sharing! Voted up, awesome and sharing!

    • LaThing profile image


      9 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      This is an interesting recipe. Never tried coconut like that, I have used coconut milk before. Have to try this out, it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing....

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      9 years ago from southern USA

      Nothing better than comfort food!!! Thank you for this excellent hub dear one. I may be able to pull this one off here. I appreciate the recipe. Voted up

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • jessefutch profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      I love coconut rice! This looks great. I will certainly have to throw this one together very soon! Voted and shared.


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