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tomato rice in a bowl
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5 from 11 votes

Thakkali Sadam | Tomato Rice Recipe

Thakkali Sadam or tomato rice is a common lunch box recipe or an item much preferred during an outing or a picnic. It also is a wonderful quick and easy recipe to make with left over rice. Paired with curd rice / yogurt rice, this is one of our favorite lunch or dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Rice Dishes
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 248kcal


  • Instant Pot
  • pan


  • 1 cup Rice I use sona masoori rice
  • 1 ½ cups Tomatoes about 4 large - chopped into small cubes
  • 1 cup Onion sliced
  • 3 Green chilies Finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Ullatham paruppu / Urad dal/ Black gram dal
  • 1 teaspoon Kadalai paruppu / channa dal / Bengal gram dal Channa dal
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Red chili powder
  • teaspoon Asafetida
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • few Curry leaves


  • Cook the rice and cool it down on a wide plate or bowl. I cook my rice in Instant pot.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When it splutters, add the urad dal and chana dal.
  • When the lentils turn golden brown, add the chopped onions, green chilies, asafetida and curry leaves. Sauté until the onions turns translucent (about 4-5 mins).
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes, chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and sugar. Sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes and adds a nice flavor to the tomato rice.
  • Cover the pan and simmer until the tomatoes are cooked (about 8 mins). Now open the lid and let the extra moisture evaporate. The base for the tomato rice (also called the tomato thokku) is ready.
  • Add this tomato thokku to the rice and mix well. Adjust the salt and serve with Appalam or vadam.



Expert tips
  • Cook the rice with a little less water than you would to make sure that the rice is separated and not mushy.
  • I also like to cool down the rice a bit before mixing it with the prepared tomato rice paste.
  • When packing for lunch box or or for travel, make sure to cool down the tomato rice before packing. This prolongs the shelf life of tomato rice.
  • We can make the tomato rice paste ahead of time and refrigerate it. This way we can use it any time we need it.
  • I like to add a touch ghee (if not making it vegan) as it adds a nice layer of flavor.
  • Adding a little sugar when making the tomato rice paste balances the acid.


Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg