Tomatoes are in season this winter, growing plentiful in our kitchen garden, in bunches of 4 to 6. When the sun shines on them, the raw green tomatoes ripen into fruit within 2-5 days. Tomato is a botannically classified as a fruit- as it grows from a flower and has seeds in it, just like bell peppers and chillies. Vegetables are stems, root tubers or leaves of the plant that are edible and useful. The abundance of vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folate, Potassium, BetaCarotene (which gives it the orange -red colour) and Lycopene in tomatoes makes tomatoes highly nutritional.
They are so versatile in their use – sauces, chutneys, pickles, soups, gravies, salad they can be made into anything, that’s why culinary chefs use them in a variety of recipes. My mother-in-law taught me a few tomato recipes, an Andhra delight. This one is my husband’s favourite! Retirement has given him time and patience for gardening and the fruit is from our garden which makes the pacchadi or chutney very wholesome! The plants are easy to grow, need minimal care and need a trellis or support as the stems are weak, and bend low with the weight of fruit.
Tomato Pacchadi or Chutney (Andhra Style)
½ kg ripe red tomatoes
For the tempering
½ cup cooking oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp methi/fenugreek seeds
1 tsp tamarind paste (adjust to the taste)
1 tsp jaggery or sugar (adjust)
Few curry leaves
6-7 garlic cloves(optional)
6-8 dry red chillies (adjust)
Asafoetida (to taste/optional)
Salt to taste
Wash and clean tomatoes and cut into pieces. Set aside.
Prepare oil for tempering in wok. Add mustard, asafoetida, turmeric powder, urad dal, chillies, curry leaves and stir. Grind to a paste and keep aside. In the remaining oil in the wok, add the tomatoes and cook. Add the salt, jaggery and tamarind pulp. Stir and cook till tender. If you wish, remove skin when cool.
Mix the masala paste in this. Stir well adjust the chilli and salt as per taste. Garnish with coriander leaves or curry leaves. This pacchadi can be eaten with warm rice or with dosa /lentil pancake.
Call it Indian salsa if you wish, but it’s a typical Andhra south Indian recipe. The tangy, chilli and salt taste make it very appetising. Store it in regrigerator for few days…that’s if it lasts!:)
Do post a comment here if you like or tried this recipe. Do you make it different in your part of the world? How?