Malaysian Monday 66: Nasi Tomato (Tomato Rice).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whoops. Monday whooshed past too quickly, so Tuesday’ll have to do.

I was quite surprised to realise that I haven’t  featured a proper rice dish for Malaysian Monday before. Sure there have been a lot of recipes featuring rice flour, or glutinous rice but not a single dish of “just rice”.

How did that happen when rice features so heavily in our Malaysian diet? Rice is a star player in many other South East Asian diets as well. In fact, I know many people who cannot go for more than a few days without their rice fix.

Rice was probably one of the first dishes I learnt to cook, we always used the absorption method.  I would carefully wash the grains, trying not to pour too many down the sink. Then I’d stick my finger in the pot to measure the water level, while “head-chef” Mum would pass an expert eye over the proceedings and tell me to either pour off some water or add more. The ideal water level is somewhere just above the first knuckle joint of the finger. Then the pot would be transferred to the stove and I’d have to watch the flame and learn how to turn it down at the right time and when to open the lid and when to stir. So many factors to get right for the perfect pot of rice. Truth be told, if I had to cook rice in a pot, I’d probably only get it right half the time! (The other half of the time I’d end up with burnt rice at the bottom or overly gluggy rice).

A much easier method would be just to use a rice cooker. Or use the microwave as I do :)

But for the sake of Tomato Rice, I used a pot and was rewarded by yummy grains of tomatoey goodness. (Actually I cheated a little and used basmati rice, the grains stay separate much better).

Enjoy the dish and have a great start to the week.

Don’t forget, you still have a week to get your entries in to Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #8. Send your entries to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com, over at  3 Hungry Tummies .

Tomato rice

(a simplified version, modified from a recipe out of my mum’s handwritten recipe books. I have no idea where she got her recipe from).

2 cups basmati rice (washed well and drained - best done in a sieve under running water. Some folks recommend pre-soaking the rice, but I find that the rice tends to break apart too much if pre-soaked. Maybe it’s the brand of rice I use?).
1/2 cup tomato puree
4 tbsp cream (the original recipe calls for evaporated milk)
2 tbsp butter (for frying + 1 tbsp vegetable oil). Or use ghee if feeling luxurious
3 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon quill
1 large spanish onion, diced
4 slices ginger
pinch of cumin seeds and fennel seeds
around 3-4cups of water or more for the rice

Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan, then add the onion and fry until translucent and slightly browned. Add the spices and ginger and fry for a little while until fragrant. Next add the rice, and stir to coat. Stir the cream and tomato puree together, then add this to the rice, along with the water. I wish I could be more specific about the water but I tend to eyeball this bit and add more if needed. Most packets of rice have ratios on them anyway, so do remember to check.

Cook on high-ish heat until the water boils, then lower the heat right down low, cover tightly   and cook until all the water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and serve.


SUSANNA said...

Hola bon dia,

m´encanta aquest arròs, anoto la teva recepta, gràcies per compartir-la

mil petonets Susanna

Jen (Tastes of Home) said...

YUMMY! I love tomato rice and the way you cook rice sounds like me too hehe just measure with your fingers :D

Jeannie said...

Looks like all mothers taught their daughters the same way to measure water for rice lol! Great recipe...I have not eaten this rice for ages!

Jennifurla said...

Oh yummy, we dont ever eat rice but we defintely should start. It is so versatile

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

this is a recipe that i think my boys can enjoy and my favourite too.thank you for posting. I am not good at measuring how much water need to cook the rice usually my husband does it for me.did you received the seeds?

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

I learnt to cook rice in a pot with my mum too - yep, finger digit measure too! When I was a teenager and my mum went out to work, I was entrusted with rice cooking for dinner (for me & my 2 bro's) - I did get burnt rice on bottom of the pan! I'm so glad of my electric rice cooker now - one less thing to watch especially when you have a baby requiring attention!

Cheah said...

We always have this at Malay weddings. Yours look good and using Basmati rice is a good choice.

Indie.Tea said...

I can't go without rice for more than a day or two myself. The tomato rice looks delicious - and with those spices it must be incredible.

Janine said...

hehe i use the finger to measure as well! i wonder where this form of measurement first started!

shaz said...

Ha ha, looks like the finger method is pretty universal :)

Malay-Kadazan girl - yes, thank you so much I just remembered to check my post box today :)

Val said...

Looks and sounds divine!

grace said...

would you believe i'm practically anti-rice? that said, i've certainly never had it prepared like this! it actually sounds tolerable, nay, delicious!

adriene said...

i used to soak rice for a few minutes before draining it and then into the rice cooker. to reduce the amount of starch in the japanese rice and more individual-grain like when cooked.