Sunday, 27 June 2021

Lockdown Day #27 : Tomato Rice (Nasi Tomato)

This is not the (overrated) Tomato Rice which was a craze at one time. This is the real deal, aromatic and truly delicious when paired with any sort of curry.

Nasi tomato is usually served sempena some celebration and I have eaten it in the past at weddings or Hari Raya parties. At the buffet line, if I see nasi tomato, my low carb resolve goes out the window and I make a beeline for it. 

To cook nasi tomato, you need whole spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and star anise - what is commonly know as rempah empat sekawan. You also need garlic and shallots, pandan leaf, lemongrass, tomato puree and ketchup and a little bit of evaporated milk. 

I like to get my liquid ingredients ready before I even saute the aromatics.

One thing to bear in mind is that you have to be a bit generous with the oil when sauteing the aromatics because you want to ensure that there is enough oil to get the job done properly and also enough oil to coat every grain of rice. Or else, your rice will appear dull. 

After all, nasi tomato is not something you eat everyday or on a regular basis, so if you want to cook it, do it right with a generous dose of oil.

I use a little bit of ghee with regular cooking oil for that special aroma. I admit that I am not fond of the smell of ghee. But when sauteed with spices and other aromatics, it mellows a little and once the dish is cooked, you will find that ghee gives it that special oomph in terms of aroma and taste.

Of course you can leave out ghee, your nasi tomato will still be good but will be missing that special something.

One more ingredient which you can choose to leave out is fresh tomato. I have cooked nasi tomato without fresh tomato in the past.

After sauteing the aromatics and coating the rice with aromatic oil, simply transfer to a rice cooker, add the liquids and let the rice cooker do its job.

Before serving I like to remove (besides the pandan and lemongrass) the whole spices because I really hate to bite into them. It always spoils my mood when I bite into a cardamom.

There was one time when I cooked nasi tomato without tomato puree because I ran out of it.

Because of that the nasi tomato was so pale. 

If you enjoy nasi tomato and want to give it a go, here is the recipe.

Nasi Tomato (Tomato Rice)
Recipe source : Adapted from Senangnya Memasak Nasi by Chef Hanieliza

Note : The cup that I used is the cup that came with my rice cooker. I have put the weight/volume of ingredients for easy reference.

Ingredients :

- 2 cups basmati rice (260g), wash and drained

Aromatics to be sauteed
- 5 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 inch ginger, julliened
- 2 cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 lemongrass
- 1 pandan leaf, knotted

Liquids :
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk (60ml)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 2.5 cups water (400 ml)

- one tomato, pulp removed and cut into small cubes

For sauteing :
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2 tbsp regular cooking oil

Method :
1. Heat oil in wok and saute sliced shallots until wilted and translucent.
2. Add the rest of the aromatics and saute until aromatic.
3. Add rice and stir to evenly coat rice with oil.
4. Transfer rice and aromatics into a rice cooker.
5. Add liquids and tomato.
6. Cook as usual.
7. When rice is cooked, fluff it up and serve.


  1. I want!!! Maybe I can try and cook my own but the recipe macam so panjang lebar and I am super lazy! Sigh!!!

    1. It's quite easy actually, don't be put off by the list of ingredients. LOL!

  2. Wow! Your nasi tomato sounds so tasty! How do you remove the whole spices if they are all over the rice?

    1. The cardamon, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick can be easily picked out from the rice.

  3. I love to eat Nasi Tomato like crazy! I would always look forward to attend Malay weddings and eat many plates of Nasi Tomato with all the curries until my stomach exploded. Somehow I tried the restaurants before and they were not as fragrant as the Malay weddings' caterers. Yours looked like a Power Packed Nasi Tomato HONG!!!

  4. I may eat tomato rice if I see it at the restaurant but will not crave or purposely go out just to find it. I'm more interested in that 'thing' next to the tomato rice...and I don't mean the cucumber & onion pickle...hah..hah. I'm hoping for beef curry but my eyes tell me it could be lamb (I guess I'll find out soon in your upcoming post)! >_<

    1. You guessed correctly, it is beef curry!

  5. So this is how it is done... I also don't like too much ghee, I think I will omit that, the rest of the ingredients can be sourced out easily... hahahaa... I can imagine how yummy this meal is especially with the Kapitan chicken!

    1. It was so good I had two helpings! LOL!

  6. Looks amazing your nasi tomato. So fluffy and nice. Will try it out soon.

  7. Heard of this but I have never tasted it. Must be very fragrant and appetizing. I bet I would enjoy it.

    1. If you like nasi biryani, chances are you will like nasi tomato.

  8. wah, sedap! i miss nasi tomato from bazaar Ramadan!!

  9. Nasi Tomato + Rendang = nest combo ever!