[Cooking Adventures] Tomato rice, with vegetables


Back when the club used to go and eat at Dixon Place Food Court after the screening on Fridays, there was one lovely Vietnamese place that made a dish served with tomato rice. While I love chicken rice that generally gets served with Hainese-style Chicken, with our recent decision to try out vegetarianism that’s out of the question so I tried to recreate this tomato rice.

This idea came about when I ate a fried rice from a place close to work that was studded with carrot. While fried rice can often taste just of oil and feel oily, I thought if I threw in the vegetables to cook at the same time as the rice, I could get a ‘fried rice’ that way, though it’s more of a pot rice, if that’s an actual thing. But I could also spin it by making it into tomato rice to make it a bit more interesting.

Without consulting any recipes like any good cook, the ingredients I decided to use are as follows, but as they are a guess. It remains that there is a lot of tweaking to do, so it might change next time:

  • 2.5 approx x cups of rice
  • 1 x carton of tomato juice
  • 1 x carrot, chopped into bits
  • 3 x small stalks of celery, from a celery heart
  • 12 x can of corn and peas
  • 12 x can of diced tomato
  • “splash” of oregano
  • “splash” of rosemary
  • “splash” of basil

Given the time I would also cook an egg and throw it in, and some other ingredients. Add the spices to taste, or just estimate really. I thought it would make it more interesting.

Some lessons

Well, it seems that maybe 2.5 cups of rice was a bit too much, but for the amount of vegetables I tried to force in, I thought it would be necessary.

After cooking it the first time, I stirred it and tested the rice and it was still a little crunchy which meant that the rice wasn’t really cooked in the centre. On the other hand when I set the cooker to cook it once more for good measure to see if it would make a difference, then walked off and came back only after almost an hour the rice had begun to move into its glutenous stage.

There’s a reason that we can use jasmine rice to cook congee (rice porridge), and this is it though I’m sure there are other types of rice that can do this too. This makes me wonder if I should be making tomato rice with a different type of rice, or was it really just the fact that I used too much tomato juice?

This recipe suggests basmati rice, which is dryer as far as I can tell. But this whole recipe is a lot more involved than my lazy method of cutting everything up and throwing it all into the rice cooker to cook. As are quite a few of the other recipes I’ve looked at.

Can’t argue with the results though.

Maybe a even simpler solution is possible? You can substitute the water with dashi to make it more flavourful, and apparently olive oil makes the rice drier and delicious - with this, you at least know what oil you’re eating and it’s also healthy!

Clearly, much to explore and learn.