Kurma’s Tomato Rice with Herbs

Kurma’s Tomato Rice with Herbs

There are not too many margii cooks who do not own at least one of Kurma Dasa’s cookbooks, such as Cooking with Kurma or Great Vegetarian Dishes. He has been cooking almost 40 years and is a famous foodie since he is on Australian food TV for Cooking with Kurma. Since Kurma cooks in the manner of the Hare Krishnas, his vegetarian style of cooking follows the same ingredient rules as the marga sentient diet, so his books are easy to cook from. His style is labeled gourmet eclectic. The Hare Krishna guru’s name was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whose first temple was established in New York City in 1966. He was a fabulous cook and held weekly Sunday feasts. The dishes always included a rice dish of some sort along with other Indian style preparations. Prabhupada had originally adopted the name ‘Love Feast’ for these buffets, and he had told the devotees that such feasts for the public should become an important part of the Hare Krishna movement. “Vegetarian food offered to Krishna becomes spiritual and whoever eats the food – called prasadam – receives great spiritual benefit.” “This cooking is actually called bhakti-yoga, the yoga of love”. Giving people spiritual life in the form of delicious pure vegetarian food cooked with love is what bhakti-yoga is all about”.

This simple combination of basmati rice with herbs, tomato, with an Italian flavor can be served as a side dish or also be used as an alternative stuffing for whole baked bell peppers.

Serves 4 persons


1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste (the brand that comes in a tube like toothpaste is great for small amounts)

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder

A heaping 1 cup chopped firm Roma plum tomatoes (seeded and cut into 1.25 cm (1/2-inch) cubes)

2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


Wash, drain, and dry the rice.

Bring the water, salt, paprika, tomato paste, and basil slowly to a boil in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat.

Heat the olive oil in a non-sticking 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderately low heat. Saute the asafoetida in the hot oil. Add the rice and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until the rice grains turn whitish.

Pour in the boiling water. Stir, raise the heat to high, and bring the water to a full boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15 – 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky.

Remove the rice from the heat and allow it to stand and steam for 5 minutes with the lid on. Finally, fold in the tomatoes and fresh parsley and serve immediately.