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Thakkali Sadam (Tomato Rice) made with Cauliflower Rice

cauliflower rice tomato rice

Thakkali Sadam (Tomato Rice) made with Cauliflower Rice!! This is a kara-saram (as we say in Tamil – i.e., a hot and spicy) recipe. The hardcore South Indian spice lovers will love my healthy spin on this classic.

Since this recipe has no white rice, I feel really good about loading it with peanuts, cashew nuts and a little extra oil (shhh…!!). However, given the absence of white rice and the use of cauliflower rice instead, this dish feels tasty yet light. No sleepy feeling after indulging in this recipe!!

The original recipe is already vegan (as most homemade south Indian recipes are), and will continue to be vegan (well, duh!!) with the cauliflower rice switch.

Recipe Breakdown

This is such a simple and easy recipe.

Using a cast-iron pan, I pan-fried the cauliflower rice for a few minutes (no oil necessary for this step) until it turns slightly brown and caramelized.

Mix well, Serve



Thakalli Sadam (Tomato Rice) made with Cauliflower Rice

Recipe by Swetha SivakumarCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: South IndianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A spicy South Indian style thakkali sadam (tomato rice) made with Cauliflower Rice. A vegan and healthy recipe that provides the same great taste as tomato rice -you won’t miss the white rice!!


  • Cauliflower Rice – 2 cups

  • Tomato Puree – 1/4 cup

  • Onion – 1 large sliced

  • Cashews (and Roasted Peanuts) – a handful

  • Green Chilis – 2 sliced (deseeded for less spice)

  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

  • Red Chili powder – 1/4 tsp *

  • Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp

  • Garlic Cloves – 6-7

  • Curry Leaves – a few

  • Coriander leaves – Chopped

  • Salt to Taste

  • Tadka (Indian Tempering in hot oil)
  • Oil – 2 Tbsp

  • Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp

  • Split Urad Dal (split black lentil) – 1 tsp

  • Fennel Seeds (Saunf) – 1/2 tsp


  • Pan-fry the cauliflower rice for a few minutes (no oil necessary for this step) until it turns slightly brown and caramelized. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in pan. Add mustard seeds, wait till they pop. Add split urad dhal, fennel seeds, cashews and curry leaves, and fry for a few seconds. Add onions and green chillies. Fry until onions turn brown.
  • Add turmeric powder, chili powder, salt, and tomato puree. Keep stir frying until oil appears on the edges of the pan. (a sign that the moisture is well reduced).
  • Now add the roasted cauliflower rice, chopped coriander leaves, mix well and serve.


  • Decide the level of chili powder based on the spiciness of your powder. However, cauliflower rice cannot absorb as much chili hotness as its white rice counterpart. So proceed with caution.


Other than Saunf (fennel seeds), the flavoring of the rice pretty much comes only from ginger-garlic, onion, chilis (green and red), and an extra oomph of garlic. But these basic ingredients with the tomato and the cauliflower rice pack quite a punch.

Let me warn you, this is quite a grown-up recipe. All the extra garlic and chilis did not impress my children, who kept asking for water and yogurt to eat with this recipe. But, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fiery dish reminded us of restaurant-style tomato rice. Full credit for the base recipe goes to one of my favorite chefs: Ms Revathy Shanmugam.

If you are interested in other cauliflower-rice dishes (Indian style), check out:

I hope you enjoyed this spicy South Indian Thakkali Sadam (Tomato Rice) made with Cauliflower Rice. Do try it and post your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to reading them.

Stay safe, everyone!! Stay Positive and sending my love to all of you!!