Saturday, July 12, 2014

One-pot Tomato Rice – perfect for a busy day

We just got home after a wonderful three-day camping trip with four other families.   As with any other trip with friends, it was filled with food, fun, campfires, tough hikes, many cups of chai, conversations, and lots of laughter.  The location was perfect – we had a large group site, with no one else in sight.  The kids could be as loud and boisterous as they wanted to be, and even though there were only a couple of vault toilets, we had it to ourselves.

After two days of no showers though, I was so ready to get home.  This is the toughest part of camping for me.  I really love the national and state park campgrounds, because the tent sites are not too close and the locations are gorgeous.  I think I have camped at KOA only once and did not enjoy the experience at all.  They do have pools, flush toilets, and showers, but it somehow feels like the tent sites are one on top of the other, with no privacy at all.

Anyway, since I only had done camping specific grocery shopping before we left, I had very little to work with at home for lunch.  We were toying with the idea of going to our local Indian restaurant for a lunch buffet, but no one was in the mood.  My husband suggested Maggi, but I didn’t feel like it.

After my much needed shower, I looked at my available options and decided to make tomato rice.  I had a couple of tomatoes, some spinach, onions, garlic, and potatoes.  This is an easy one-pot meal, and can be made with whatever you have on hand.  It takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.


Here is what you need:

(I used potatoes and spinach because that’s what I had.  You can add any vegetable you have on hand – carrots, beans, cauliflower, peas, cabbage – all work well)

  • 2 – 3 tsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • ½ medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed in several changes of water


Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil in a kadai or pot.  Add mustard seeds.  When they sputter, add the cumin seeds.
  2. When the cumin seeds change color, add green chilies, onions, and garlic.
  3. Sauté on medium heat till the onions turn translucent.  Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, and chili powder.
  4. Cook on medium heat till the whole thing gets a bit pulpy.  Add potatoes (or whatever vegetable you are using).
  5. Cover and cook till the potatoes are half done.  Add the chopped spinach and rice.  Mix well.
  6. Now add 4 cups of water.  Bring this to a boil.  Turn heat to low.
  7. Cover and cook till the rice is done (about 12 – 15 minutes)

Serve with papads and raitha.

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