Instant Pot Tomato Rice

Tomato Biriyani in Instant Pot

The popular saying is that Biryani isn’t just a food, it is an emotion. India boasts of a wide variety of biryanis, all thanks to the Mughal influences and every region has a unique variety of biriyani. even the spelling varies from the north to south…Biryani in the north and Biriyani in the south of India. Why am I not calling it a biriyani then? Well, I haven’t really stuck to an authentic biriyani recipe and secondly I have combined a pulao recipe and a biriyani recipe…so I decided to just call it Tomato Rice.

This recipe is a melange of all the biriyani recipes I have read about/followed and my mother-in-law’s coconut milk pulao recipe. As a home cook my primary criteria for any recipe is to use ingredients that I have on hand and use things we like. I remember when my ma made pulaos, she could never add mint or cilantro because back in the days I absolutely disliked both of them !! Now I cannot imagine a biriyani without both !

The South Indian Biriyanis vary by region. I have heard people mentioning Thalapakatti, Ambur, Dindigul, to name a few, but I haven’t really tasted all of them since vegetarian versions of such are not easily available in the local restaurants here. So I am figuring a way to make them at home and enjoy.

The rice varieties used also differ from region to region. Seeraga samba, basmati rice, short grain rice local to that region, etc are used. Each one with its unique texture and flavor makes for a unique experience ! Ardent biriyani lovers know their stuff and are meticulous at making it. Each step an elaborate saga, carefully orchestrated to maximize flavor! In the modern times, it can be quite challenging/daunting to find time for an elaborate process. Hence such shortcuts find their way into our kitchens and encourages people like me to try it, savor it and treasure it !

Prep Time : 20 minutesCook time : 10 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Serves – 4Tamil Cuisine/Rice

Recipe : Instant Pot Tomato Rice

Ingredients :

  1. Basmati rice – 1 cup
  2. Tomato puree – 1 1/4 cup
  3. Thai Green chilis – chopped – 3
  4. Coconut milk – 1/4 cup
  5. Chopped onion – 1/4 cup
  6. Ginger paste – 1 teaspoon
  7. Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  8. Mint leaves – chopped – 2 tablespoons
  9. Cilantro chopped – 2 tablespoons
  10. Green cardamom – 2
  11. Cloves – 2
  12. Cinnamon sticks – 2 inch piece
  13. Bay leaf – 1
  14. Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  15. Paprika – 1 teaspoon (for color – optional)
  16. Salt to taste
  17. Ghee/Coconut oil – 2 tablespoons

How To:

(Check Notes for variations)

  • First, rinse the basmati rice and soak in warm water until all the prep work is done. It should for at least 15 minutes.
  • Next prep all the ingredients and keep ready. This recipe cooks really fast.
  • Puree the 3 medium sized tomatoes with the chopped green chili. (see notes)
  • Turn on the Instant Pot in saute mode. Once the inner pot is hot, add the ghee or coconut oil.
  • Once the pot is hot, add the oil/ghee, green whole cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf. Let it toast for 20 seconds.
  • Next add the onions, saute for a minute, stirring in between.
  • Then add the chopped mint, cilantro, ginger and garlic paste. Let it cook for another minute, keep stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  • Next add the turmeric powder and the paprika. Mix well.
  • Add the tomato puree, salt to taste and mix well.
  • Now add the coconut milk and then followed by the soaked basmati rice. Mix thoroughly.
  • Close the IP lid, turn off Saute mode and turn on Pressure Cook in High and set timer for 3 minutes, seal the vent.
  • As soon as the rice is cooked, the timer will switch off, release pressure manually but slowly. This will ensure that the rice isn’t overcooked. We need the grains to stay separate and not become mushy.
  • Wait for 5 minutes and slowly fluff it up with a fork and remove to a serveware.
  • Serve hot with yogurt/raita of choice.

Notes :

  • Use basmati rice/ quinoa/millets/broken wheat/ etc.,.
  • If you want a rustic outcome, use chopped tomatoes instead of purée.
  • Use as many chilis as you can handle.
  • You can add some garam masala powder or biriyani masala powder if you like.
  • parika helps enhance that red color, completely optional.
  • Coconut milk helps cut down the tartness a tad bit, if you like the tang, you can omit the coconut milk or increase the quantity.
  • Rice to liquid ratio should be 1:1.5 for the perfect biriyani texture.
  • I used ghee, but use coconut oil/any neutral flavor oil for a vegan option.
  • You can even make it in an open pot on the stovetop. Key is to soak basmati rice for a minimum of 10 minutes in warm/hot water.

I served it as a South Indian platter with some yogurt rice and cucumber salad/kosambari/kosumalli and some fried rice fryums.

As always, this is a basic template and feel free to play with it! Make it your own and enjoy. Thank you for stopping by !

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