NOTES FROM THE KITCHEN TEST
This savory tomato rice recipe is just delicious—rich it’s with aromatics and layers of spice, yet it’s so simple to make for a quick side or lunch. Every time you prepare it, your family and friends will beg you for the recipe. The rice comes out precisely cooked and soaked through with the rich tomato broth thanks to these exact directions. Slow and steady wins here, especially when cooking the rice at the very end over super-low heat. This tomato rice recipe is delicious, cozy, and warming, with ghee, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and fresh chiles. Add some chicken or ground beef and you’ve got yourself a tasty entrée.
The spiciness level may be adjusted by using different chiles (for example, Thai are significantly hotter than serrano) and removing the seeds and heat-packed white ribs. Keep in mind that the spice level will rise as you eat, and you may taste as you go. If you can’t locate whole mace, use 1/8 teaspoon powdered mace or leave it out entirely and let the other spices carry the meal.
Yes, cleaning and soaking the rice takes time, but your perseverance will be rewarded, and you’ll have the greatest flavor and texture. All that remains is to sauté the spices and aromatics, then toss in the tomatoes and let the rice simmer in all of that deliciousness. Your kitchen will smell wonderful, and you’ll remember this mix of textures and flavors for the rest of your life.
Grocery list of ingredients
- 1 cup basmati white rice
- 2 tbsp ghee (or unsalted butter)
- 6 cardamom pods (green or white)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
- 2 mace blades
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced after being split in half lengthwise
- 2 to 3 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chilies, chopped lengthwise into thin strips, to taste (do not remove the seeds)
- 4 finely sliced medium garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, shredded
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, coarse
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
- Place the rice in a medium mixing basin. Fill the bowl halfway with water, just enough to cover the rice. Gently brush the grains with your fingers to remove any dust or light foreign items (such as loose husks) that will float to the surface. The water will fog over. Drain and repeat three or four times more until the water is generally clean; drain again. Fill the basin halfway with cold water and let it aside for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the kernels soften. Once more, drain.
Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine the cardamom, cinnamon, mace, and cloves in a mixing bowl.
- Combine the chilies, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. (You don’t want the garlic to brown since its nutlike crunch contributes to the texture of the rice.) Stir in the tomatoes and liquids, as well as the salt and turmeric. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, uncovered and stirring periodically, until the tomatoes softens.
- Toss in the drained rice to coat with the tomato sauce. Pour in 112 cup water and whisk once to combine. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the surface water has evaporated and craters develop in the rice. Then (and only then) stir one more to bring the partly cooked layer from the pan’s bottom to the surface. Seal with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cook for 8–10 minutes (10 minutes for a gas burner). Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the flame for 10 minutes, undisturbed.
- Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork before topping with the cilantro. (Extract the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks before serving, or just instruct guests to eat around them.)