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March 10, 2015

Tomato Rice Thakkali Sadam Tamatar Chaval

When I think of tomato rice, i was taken way back to my early working days when I used to buy food parcel from a mess on days when I don't carry my lunch box.  The word 'mess' has a special touch than a hotel because of its homely food.  

I remember those days....brownish green parcel was lying at a corner of the lunch table waiting to be opened ..... A look at the pack was enough to kindle my gastric juice .... I eagerly looked forward to lunch time.  I carefully unwound the thread and opened the crispy leaf parcel.....aha! colorful tomato rice packed in Patravali (Thayal Ilai in tamil) and the lightly oily layered inside of the leaf and the aroma it has given to the hot and freshly packed tomato rice is just enough to push me into the absolute foodie bliss....
Patravali or thayyal ilai is an eco friendly packing item made of leaves. The dried leaves of Sal or Jackfruit or Mandarai (still looking for the right english name. so please bear with me. it is a tamil name) are stitched together with the help of thin and tiny wooden sticks. Different regions in the country use different tree leaves for this purpose. They were used by sages and for offering and disbtributing prashad at the temples. We still can see these leaves in use in the country side.  Now with the help of machines these leaves are moulded into plate and bowl shape, are available in the market.

This is how Patravali - leaf plate looks. Got it from google search...

Let us get into tomato rice making..... this recipe is how we make it at home.

Ingredients :-

  1. Cooked Rice - 1.5 Cups
  2. Tomato - 1 Big
  3. Onion - 1 Medium (optional)
  4. Ginger - 1/2" piece  (optional)
  5. Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  6. Green Chilli - 1 No.
  7. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  8. Red Chilli Powder - as per taste
  9. Asafoetida powder - 1 Pinch
  10. Sesame Oil for tempering - 1 tbsp
  11. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  12. Channa dal - 1 tsp (split bengal gram)
  13.  Salt to taste
  14. A tsp of ghee
  15. Jaggery - 1/4 tsp
  16. Coriander leaves finely chopped - 1 tbsp (optional)
Procedure :

  •  Finely chop tomato, onion, ginger, few curry leaves, Green chilli.
  •  Heat oil, add mustard seeds. After they start spluttering, add channa dal. When the dal turns golden brown in color, add the curry leaves, finely chopped curry leaves, onion, ginger, green chillies and saute' till onion turns pink.
  • Now add the finely chopped tomato and add little salt so that tomatoes gets cooked quickly and turns mushy.
  • Now add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, asafoetida powder and required salt and very little jaggery (to enhance the taste) mix well and fry for one minute.

  •  Switch off the flame, add chopped coriander leaves, ghee and the cooked rice. Gently mix well.
  • Yummy tomato rice is ready to serve!  

Side dish : fried fryums, papad and curd makes a good combo.  I relish the tomato rice just plain :-)

There are few items mentioned optional. I sometimes add them, sometimes exclude any one or few of them to get variation in taste and flavour of this tomato rice.  If you want it to be more tangy, accordingly increase the measure for chopped tomato.

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