With tomatoes at throwaway prices in these parts nowadays, who wouldn’t be tempted to buy the red juicy vegetable (fruit?) by the sackful? I gave in to the lure and have been happily cooking tomato-based stuff since – pasta in tomato sauce one day, potatoes in tomato gravy the next.
A hunt for more tomato recipe inspiration brought me to Sailu’s recipe for tomato pickle, one that needs no sun-drying. Just what I was looking for! I made a few tweaks to suit my taste and the contents of my pantry – mainly cut down on the oil since I wouldn’t be storing the pickle long, and upped the quantity of curry leaves.
Here is my version of tomato pickle with garlic and curry leaves.
- Tomatoes – 1kg (I used 15 small tomatoes)
- Tamarind – 1 coin-sized ball
- Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon
- Roasted mustard-fenugreek powder* – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Curry leaves –10 sprigs
- Garlic – 10 cloves
- Red chili flakes – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Methi dal (coarsely ground fenugreek seeds) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons
*To make mustard-fenugreek powder, refer step 1 of recipe: green eggplant in mustard-fenugreek masala.
In the picture above: (clockwise from top); pack of tamarind, tomatoes, red chili powder, roasted mustard-fenugreek powder, curry leaves, garlic.
Cut each tomato into 8 (or more, if using big tomatoes) cubes.
Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan to smoking point. Slide in the tomato cubes. Cook on high heat for 5mins, then reduce to medium-high heat and continue to cook till the tomato juices thicken. This would take around 25-30 minutes. Add tamarind. Continue to cook on low heat, stirring at regular intervals, till the juices evaporate, the tomatoes turn a rich crimson and give off a roasted aroma. The entire process would take around 45mins.
Let the tomato-tamarind mixture cool to room temperature. Grind along with salt, a teaspoon each of red chili powder and mustard-fenugreek powder. Set aside.
Make the tempering:
Pluck out curry leaves, wash and pat dry. Peel and gently crush garlic cloves.
Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil in a small pan to smoking point. Set heat to low, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add methi dal and as soon as they turn color (3-4 seconds), follow with red chili flakes, curry leaves and crushed garlic. Stir fry for a few seconds, till the garlic turns golden.
Remove from heat. After 5 mins, mix the cooked tomato-tamarind mixture with the curry leaf and garlic tempering. Let it rest for at least an hour before serving so that the flavors blend.
Store tomato pickle in an airtight jar. Refrigerate.
Serve a dollop on the side with any Indian meal.