Tomato Pulav

Tomato Pulav

This classic recipe is a tangy, flavorful South Indian rice dish made with tomatoes, green peas and spices. Rice is the predominant grain in South Indian cuisine and there is a wide array of rice-based dishes served at different meals. Try serving Tomato Pulav with papadum and a cooling dip made from yogurt and cucumber.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 (1-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chili, with juice
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ cup cilantro or mint, finely chopped


    1. Rinse rice, place in a bowl, cover it with water, and soak for 20 minutes.

    2. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-high. Add cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks, sauteing until fragrant and cumin turns a darker brown, about 10-20 seconds.

    3. Add minced garlic and garam masala; sauté for 10 seconds.

    4. Add tomatoes, water, and salt, if using, and bring to a boil.

    5. Add rice and peas. Stir well and bring to a boil.

    6. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 10-15 minutes until rice is done.

    7. Turn off the stove, add finely chopped herbs.

    8. Fluff the rice and serve.


You can substitute brown basmati rice to make it a whole grain option by modifying the water and cooking time. Discard whole cloves and cinnamon before eating. Garam masala is a key spice mixture used in many Indian dishes which may be found in many well-stocked markets, Indian markets, or online.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

½ cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 163Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 296mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

Vandana Sheth RDN, CDCES, FAND is a nationally recognized, award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes care and education specialist, and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes.

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