My Mom-in-law’s recipe
The year has been moving not in days or weeks but in months. I have been occupied with a few projects (non-food and non-blog related) one after the other that kept me away from the blog. For a couple of months, I was less at home and more in my little girl’s Montessori, compiling their yearbook. It is her last year there before she moves to public school later this fall. Last day at school and saying goodbye was more painful for me than for her!
Summer holidays had begun and after another volunteering photography assignment I needed to complete, I was ready for a real break.
So, we were travelling. A couple of weeks being cut off from the internet and the regular routine was a godsend. We spent a weekend at Lake LBJ and later visited the Grand Canyon, our long time dream. And before we left, I made a big bottle of this tomato pickle to-go. Because, whenever we travel, we like to take some home food just so we don’t feel all that homesick. Besides, it comes in handy when we have little or no suitable vegetarian options.
This recipe comes from my Mom-in-law who is an excellent cook and her repertoire, versatile. Her recipes are varied like Mawa Payesh and this Gujiya and her instructions have never failed me. Also, she makes one of the better home made Samosas I have ever eaten.
I was introduced to this tomato pickle soon after my marriage. My taste buds danced to the tune of Andhra pickles like this and many more that she would make. With my love for relishes and pickles, it was love at first bite!
A few months back, I was hit with an intense craving to eat this pickle with Dosa. Making it myself was the only alternative. Good for me, as I got to learn how to make it. Since them, I am on a Tomato pickle making spree.
It is a sure crowd pleaser and am sure you will love it as much as I do.
Summer tomatoes are supposed to be bursting with flavor. This pickle serves just right for the season. Tomatoes in the pickle taste just like sun-dried tomatoes or even better simmered with the spices! We are voracious consumers of this condiment. A bottle usually never lasts more than a week to ten days at the max.
A few of our favorite ways to use this addictive pickle:
Quick Tomato rice when travelling We prefer eating some home made food at least a few times. This pre-made tomato pickle comes in very handy as it stores well on the counter for a week easily. Plug in the rice cooker, cook some rice and stir in the tomato pickle for an instant one pot meal in the time it takes to cook rice!
Sandwich with guacamole or avocados Slather a layer of tomato pickle on toasted multi-grain or whole wheat bread, line up thinly sliced avocado on top, optionally sprinkle with salt & pepper on the avocados, seal with another slice and enjoy or Slather tomato pickle on one slice and guacamole on the other, put them together and enjoy!
Quick tomato pickle rasam Stir in some tomato pickle into cooked dal, add water to adjust consistency. Bring to gentle boil, garnish with cilantro. Enjoy super quick rasam.
Andhra Style spicy Tomato Pachadi (Pickle) without garlic
- 12 medium sized Roma tomatoes or about 3 lbs (1-1/4 kg) finely chopped (top sliced off)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp filtered peanut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp methi / fenugreek seeds to roast and grind
- 2 tsp roasted and ground fenugreek seeds
- about 10 curry leaves torn
- 1 tsp size tamarind seeds removed
- 1/4 tsp hing / asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1-1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 3 tsp salt
In a heavy bottomed skillet, dry roast fenugreek seeds over low-medium heat until fragrant and brown. Be careful not to burn. In a spice grinder, grind it to a fine powder when cooled and set aside.
Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pan. When the oil is hot enough or shimmering, drop in the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, sprinkle hing and toss in the curry leaves. When curry leaves stop spluttering, add turmeric quickly followed by chopped tomatoes and the tamarind piece. Cook uncovered on high heat, stirring intermittently until tomato is well cooked. Season with salt and red chilli powder, stir well and continue to cook until the whole thing lumps together and oil leaves the sides of the pan, about an hour.
Finish off by sprinkling roasted and ground fenugreek/methi powder, stir to mix well and keep aside to cool. When completely cooled, transfer to a clean, dry glass jar with an airtight lid.
Serve with steaming hot rice and a drizzle of ghee or as an accompaniment for Dosa, Idli, chapathi and the like.
Finely chopped tomatoes cook faster. If you are very particular about the seeds and skin, strain the seeds and peel the skin before finely chopping.
Remaining ground methi can be used in curries. Sprinkling just a bit adds flavor and aroma. The pickle depends on the sweetness or tartness of the tomatoes.
After tasting, if you find it too spicy or salty or sour, put the pan back on the stove and just stir in some powdered jaggery. Repeat to adjust the spices to taste.