You’re definitely going to want to try this trick while tomatoes are in season.
A basic pot of white rice is already satisfying in and of itself. However, if you are looking to switch things up, there are several simple ways to enhance the flavor of this beloved carb. I’m a big fan of toasting it, adding herbs, simmering the grains in coconut milk, or adding a tasty yellow glow to it with aromatic saffron threads. Seriously, I love my rice and I am all about quick, simple tricks for dressing it up. And just when I thought I’d tried all the easy rice hacks to be had, YouTube blessed me with a genius way to make tomato rice.
Youtuber, Strictly Dumpling’s technique for making insanely tasty tomato rice is the kind of no-fuss, flavor-building trick everyone needs in their arsenal. Strictly Dumpling demonstrates the recipe using a rice cooker, but this hack will also work with an Instant Pot. I tried his method at home on the stovetop and found it to yield highly successful results. See, tomato rice that involves tossing canned tomatoes into the pot as the rice cooks can often take on a mushy, overcooked texture if you're not careful. The additional liquid from the canned tomatoes tends to throw the liquid-to-rice ratio, making for gummy rice. However, after watching the viral rice tutorial video with over 1.7 million views, I was hopeful I’d finally found a viable solution for nailing perfect tomato rice every time.
To make this subtly flavored rice, all you need is a small to medium whole, ripe tomato. A vine-ripened or plum tomato is ideal. Measure out the rice and water (or chicken broth/stock) as you normally would—about 1 cup of long-grain rice to 1 ½ cups to 2 cups water—and remove the stem and exposed core from the tomato. As you bring your cooking liquid to a simmer, add your rice along with additional flavoring elements such as salt, black pepper, a smashed garlic, and butter to taste. Plop the tomato right in the center of the pot, cover with the lid, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. As the rice cooks, the tomato’s skin softens and the inner flesh is warmed, yielding an incredible, rich tomato flavor.
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When the rice is fully cooked, simply mash the tomato with a spoon to break down the tender flesh and release the hot tomato juices. As you stir the rice and tomato together, you’ll notice that the rice takes on a reddish hue—it’s beautiful, my friends. Finish the rice with chopped green onion and bam, you have a flavor-packed pot of perfectly fluffy tomato rice.