Let’s get some things out of the way. Don’t be afraid of the colour of this pickle. The colour is the result of cooking the tomatoes for about an hour and not chilly! there are hotter ones on this blog!
I don’t know if this is a pickle or a chutney. And I am not going to research…. what i do know is that this is a very tasty and flavourful pickle/ chutney with any meal. At office, we have a lady cook. She makes this and we love it so much that we are always asking her to make bottles of it to take back home….a few days ago, my online vegetable vendor listed desi tomatoes at Rs. 4 per kg and i had to buy 3kgs out of sheer delight of finding them so cheap. A big lot of plump, ripe juicy tomatoes made their way home that day and i knew i wanted to try my hand at Padma’s chutney. This is a very simple one to do, you just need to chop up a few ingredients and then cook and cook and cook for about an hour till it reaches a jam like consistency. This chutney needs very little supervision and so you can get on with whatever you are doing as long as you pop in every 20 minutes to give it a stir and cook it on the lowest heat possible so it doesnt splutter and spit all over the cook top!
its yummy with idli, dosa, besan rotis or aloo parathas, but my favourite is mixed into steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee!!
Padma’s Tomato Pickle (makes about 500 gms of pickle)
about 8 cups or 1.5 kgs of ripe, juicy and red tomatoes, the indian variety is best. Make sure they are not too tart
1 cup of thick tamarind extract (wash and soak a tennis ball sized piece of tamarind in warm water for 30 mins, squeeze to extract the pulp and strain to remove debris)
1/2 cup of peeled garlic pods
3 -4 tablespoons of red chilli powder (adjust according to your spice quotient)
3-4 teaspoons of sugar
salt to taste
6 tablespoons of gingely/ sesame oil
for the seasoning:
1 teaspoon each of mustard/ rai/aavalu and jeera/ zeera/ jilakarra
1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek/ methi/ menthulu/
a pinch of hing/ asafetida/ inguva
15-18 curry leaves
3-4 dried red chillies, broken into halves
In a heavy bottomed pan/ kadai or crock pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and add the peeled garlic to it. Saute on the lowest heat till they are beginning to turn golden brown. Now add the chopped tomatoes and tamarind extract and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times, till the liquid is beginning to dry up and the tomatoes are cooked. Add the red chilly powder, salt and sugar and cook for another 20-30 minutes on low heat. It will thicken at the edges and reduce considerably, with a wooden spoon, stir a few times. the pickle should look thick and like a jam with just enough moisture to stir. Add about 3 tablespoons of the remainder of the sesame oil and cook another 3-4 minutes. In another pan, heat the rest of the oil, add the fenugreek/ methi seeds and saute till just turning brown, ensure you dont burn them, add the cumin/ jeera and mustard/ rai to it, add the curry leaves and red chillies, saute till everything turns toasty. Take off the heat, add the hing/ asafetida and add immediately to the cooking pickle. Stir well till it is well incorporated. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Once it is fully cooled, transfer to clean and dry containers, either ceramic or plastic and store in the fridge. If stored in the fridge, this lasts about 2 weeks. ensure that a dried spoon is used and do not leave the spoon inside the container.
this is a very tasty accompaniment with a nice balance of flavours. and the colour is from the tomatoes and not the chilly.