Cook's Hideout: Tomato Pulihora

March 20, 2015

Tomato Pulihora

Happy Ugadhi/ Gudi Padhwa to all of you who are celebrating the New Year.
Our Ugadhi is today, a day earlier than in India and I was planning for an elaborate festival with my sister's family, but unfortunately it started snowing and the weather dampened all my plans. So it was just our family and I made Ugadhi pachadi, pulihora and godhuma rawa-carrot kesari.
I think South Indians have a knack of making pulihoras or tangy, spicy rice with just about anything. I have tried adding veggies to it like these broccoli, gooseberry, cranberry and gongura. Today's pulihora is on similar lines but with tomato.
Tomato Pulihora
My mom gave me the idea for this tomato pulihora after she ate it at one of our relative's house. In this recipe rice is cooked in tomato infused water and then seasoned with the usual pulihora tempering with lots of peanuts, ginger and green chilies.

Getting good quality tomatoes in winter is a little challenging here, so I tried the recipe with canned tomato paste. I feel tomato paste has more tomato flavor and gives the rice a nice red color. I like the flavor of ginger in pulihora, so added it to the dish.
I have made this dish quite a few times already and it was a hit every time I made it with both family & friends. Even my international friends loved it because it is mild and not too spicy. Do try it next time you are looking for an alternate to good old pulihora.
Tomato Pulihora
Ingredients: Serves 2~3
Rice - 1cup (I use Sona masorri rice)
Tomato paste - 2tbsp (or use 2 medium ripe tomatoes)
Turmeric - ½tsp 
Peanuts - 2tbsp
Chana dal - 2tsp
Urad dal - 2tsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Dry red chili - 2
Hing - ½tsp
Green Chilies - 2~3 (adjust as per taste preference)
Ginger - 1" piece, peeled and grated
Lemon/ Lime juice - 2~3tbsp (adjust as per taste preference)
Salt - to taste

  • Soak the rice in water for at least 20 minutes. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk tomato paste in 3tbsp water to make a smooth mixture. If you are using fresh tomatoes, then grind them into a puree.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan or a pressure cooker, add tomato paste mixture (or fresh tomato puree) and cook on medium-low flame for 2~4 minutes.
  • Add turmeric, salt and 1½~1¾cups of water (adjust the water according to the rice you are using). Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook till the rice is tender, about 15~20 minutes. I simply cook for 2 whistles in the pressure cooker. 
  • Let the rice cool for a little bit.
  • Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan, add chana dal, urad dal, peanuts, mustard seeds and dry red chilies. Once the seeds start to splutter and the seeds start to splutter, add hing and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Next add green chilies, ginger and curry leaves. Mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Pour this mixture into the tomato rice, mix gently to distribute the tempering evenly.
  • Finally stir in the lemon juice and let rest for at least 10~15 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Enjoy!!
Tomato Pulihora

Linking this to Valli's 'Cooking from Cookbook ChallengeMarch -- Week 3'.



  1. Thats such a tasty simple dish Pavani. I love your white bowl. Cute. :)

  2. That is a brilliant idea, Pavani. Shall try it too.

  3. Wow Pavani, the rice looks so bright and inviting..very nice one..

  4. this sounds like a great rice alternative - I will def be trying this one


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