Bell Pepper and Tomato Rice

South Indian Bell Pepper and Tomato Rice
South Indian Bell Pepper and Tomato Rice

This rice dish is a South Indian dish from my childhood. I was lucky enough to learn how to make this from Alamelu Vairavan, the author of “The Art of South Indian Cooking” who was a friend of my mother. I still remember the smell of this dish as she made it the first time I tried it at a small cooking class. It is still one of my favorite dishes. I just made it today for a potluck. It was a hit and my dish was scraped clean. The dish comes together very quickly once the rice is cooked and tastes like you worked all day to achieve the depth of flavor. Good luck my friends.

South Indian Bell Pepper and Tomato Rice 


  • 2 cups basmate rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 large onion, but into strips
  • 1 large tomato cut into small chunks
  • 2 small jalapenos or Serrano chili peppers, minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 TBL curry powder
  • 1 TBL salt
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup lightly salted cashews
  • 1/4 earth balance buttery spread, or butter
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced


  1. Cook rice in water until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Cool rice one hour so the grains will not stick together (if you have time)
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat.
  4. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add the cumin, fennel and cinnamon.
  5. Stir and brown for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the onion, tomato and chili peppers and saute one minute.
  7. Add the tomato sauce, turmeric, curry, salt and green bell peppers.
  8. Cook and stir occasionally until the bell peppers are just tender, 1-2 minutes.
  9. Stir in the cooked rice and immediately reduce heat to low.
  10. Stir in the cashews and butter.
  11. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm.

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Hey, my name is Adrianne, but I like to call myself the Happy Food Ninja! I am excited to share my love of food and cooking with you. My goal is to introduce you to easy ways to make delicious food, no matter what diet you subscribe to.

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