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Tomato Pulao - Quick and Easy Spicy Indian Tomato Rice

Updated on January 29, 2013
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If you're looking for a one-dish nutritious and hearty meal, try this tomato pulao. Pulao is an Indian rice dish similar to pilaf. There are many different types, but this spicy tomato version is a favorite. It's simple, quick and easy to make. Perfect for a vegetarian diet or even served as a side dish to compliment a protein in a non-vegetarian diet. I make pulao once a week.

Don't let the ingredients list intimidate you. Give it a try! The unique combination of flavors just makes this dish a party in your mouth!

tomato pulao
tomato pulao

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 4 to 6 meal-sized servings


  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed well
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1" fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 2 to 3 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1" piece of cinnamon bark
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 green cardamom pod
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 cups water


  1. Rinse your rice and leave it to soak in fresh water while you prepare your vegetables.
  2. Heat the oil in a small wok or pan and add the cloves, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon. Allow to sizzle on medium high heat until they begin to change color. The oil should give off a wonderful aroma. Reduce the heat to medium and remove the whole spices from the oil and toss.
  3. Add your chopped onions to the oil and cook until they just begin to brown. At this point add your garlic, ginger and chillies and stir frequently so the ginger doesn't burn.
  4. When this mixture is cooked completely, add the chopped tomatoes and fresh coriander. Add the spices and salt, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes begin to steam. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Allow the tomatoes to cook down. Stir occasionally and smash the tomatoes with a spoon until you end up with a fragrant paste.
  5. Now it's time to add the rice and water and increase the heat to high. Stir the ingredients together and check for seasoning. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and let it cook for 20 minutes. No need to stir. Rice will be more tender if the lid isn't removed during this step.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


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