I will be serving this tomato chutney often now that I have rediscovered it. Lost in the the archives of my brain, I recalled it while typing the recipes for my previous blog entries, Coconut Chutney and Mint Chutney. I could eat bowlfuls of this. Give me a spoon and let me slurp away.


If you have been following my blog, you would know that this recipe for Tomato Chutney is the last in my series for chutneys/dips to go with my interpretation of the gluten and egg free savoury Indian snack, Vadai. I have an unconventional approach to making them. I make the batter with a shrimp base stock of the conventional water base. Vadais are soft on the inside with a slight crips crunch on the outside. Curious? Click on this link, Vadai, Gluten & Egg Free Savoury Snack to read more on it.

Here are all three dips,  Mint Chutney, Tomato Chutney and Coconut Chutney with Vadais and tortilla chips. I serve the Vadais not so much as snacks as it is often done in Indian homes but as pre-dinner party nibbles. It is always popular with my guests.  If you have no time or desire to make Vadais, open a bag of tortilla chips or pretty much any bag of vegetable chips.

Tomato Chutney, Tomato Dip

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 30 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Intermediate
Serves: ~ 6 as dip
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Yes, up to 2 days

Ingredients

To grind
4 cups (~4 large) tomatoes diced
1 and 1/3 cup diced purple onions*
1 teaspoon diced ginger
2 red chillies, seeds removed, roughy diced
Everything else
4 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoons urud dal**
Half a pinch (that’s half of a 1/8 teaspoon) of asafoetida (optional)***
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar*
Ingredients for ‘tempering’

To put it simply, in Indian cooking ‘tempering’ refers to heating up of spices in hot oil to draw out its flavours. That means tempering can be done in the initial stages of cooking a dish, after which other ingredients, for instance, onions and vegetables are added and cooking continues. Tempering is also done to finish off an otherwise cooked dish. Oil is heated, spices are thrown in often in separate succession, to maximise its potency. The flavoured oil and spices are strewn over the dish which can be a chutney as in my Coconut Chutney and this Tomato Chutney recipe or in other dishes such as in lentils or beans meals. Tempering to complete a dish adds a lot more flavour to what could be a mediocre dish. Taste the Tomato Chutney before and after you add the tempered ingredients and you will understand what I mean.
2 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds**
16 curry leaves
* Use purple onions and not yellow as purple onions are more often than not the onion of choice to be used in Indian cooking.
**  Also known as black gram/lentils and sometimes labelled as white gram/lentils (image below). These can be purchased from Indian grocers. The lentils you want to buy are actually off white in colour. The black husks have been removed revealing the inner off white colour of the lentils. You will also find on the grocer’s shelves, black gram lentils with husks still attached so they are black in colour. Remember to buy the off-whites ones. Use the remaining urud dal to make Vadai.
*** Asafoetida (image below) is the resin derived from the herbaceous ferula family. You can buy this greyish brownish coloured powdered spice at your Indian grocer. I use this for its anti-flatulence properties. It is an ingredient used as far as I am aware, primarily in Indian cooking. Its use has not transcended borders as much as other spices associated with Indian cooking. Perhaps because it smells dangerously sulphuric. The smell might just shock you enough to send you reeling back a few steps. I keep the plastic container where it comes stored in when I buy it, in a plastic bag and then in a glass jar. That is how pungent it smells. Add too much of it in your food and it overwhelms the dish. I am very conservative with the amount I add. I cannot accurately tell you the flavour it imparts as it is a totally different spice. All I know is if I add it to my lentil/bean dishes, my tummy feels a whole lot better. If I really have to describe the taste it imparts, I would say it is a mix of onion, fennel and garlic. Omit if you cannot bring yourself to buy or use it.  I do use it in my recipes for Vadai, Gluten & Egg Free Savoury Snack and Coconut Chutney.
* Depending on the tomatoes you use, you might have to use +/- 1 to 2 teaspoons more. Adjust to suit your taste.
** These can be purchased from Indian grocery stores.

Left: Urud dal (lentils) Right: Asafoetida
Ingredients for ‘Tempering’.

Method

1. In a blender, grind up the tomatoes, onions, ginger and chillies. Grinding it up helps you to cook down the vegetables faster. Set aside.
2. Heat up 4 Tablespoons of oil in a pot. When oil is hot, add urud dal and shake the pan around until the urud dal turns a light golden colour. This takes a few seconds. 3. Add the asafoetida, let it sizzle 5 seconds, add the ground up vegetables, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and boil it down for 30 minutes or until it thickens and is no longer runny. There will be a lot of bubbling, spluttering and splattering. The chutney does make a bit of a mess to the area surrounding the pot.
4. When I see little funnels on the chutney, like those in the photograph below, I turn off the burner. Leave it on the burner.

5. Next thing to be done is tempering.
6. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a small pot. I use my 4″ pot as the deep sides and narrow diameter will protect me from the spitting oil. You be careful.
7. When the oil is hot, add the black mustard seeds and curry leaves and shake the pot to move things around for 5 seconds. Not more. Mustard seeds burn super easily. It should smell heady.
8. Pour this directly into the Tomato Chutney and stir to incorporate.
9. Reheat the tomato chutney, let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, adjust seasoning for sugar and salt.Remove from burner, cool and serve.

Tips

3 Ways To Use Tomato Chutney

(1) Over a simple Mozzarella Salad.

Ingredients:
Mozzarella ball, preferably buffalo as it is the creamiest and the softest.
Tomato Chutney.
Basil leaves, shredded. If you do not have it, leave it out.
Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Method
1. Slice the mozzarella ball or tear it up into smaller pieces and arrange on a serving plate.
2. Dollop the Tomato Chutney over it.
3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, pepper and salt to taste.
4. Strewn basil over.

I like this for dinner with country bread. So simple and satisfying.

(2) With a sunny side up egg

Ingredients
Fried egg
Bread
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, pepper and salt to taste.
Even better with a side of sliced avocados!

Another easy and delicious, light meal.

(3) Topped over grilled fish served with a side of greens

IMG_4565 copy
Ingredients
1 grilled white fish fillet with seasoned with sea salt
Side of greens:
1 – 1 and 1/2 cup of diced Kai Lan/Chinese Broccoli
2 Tablespoons diced onions
2 Tablespoons fresh/frozen grated coconut
1 diced green chilli
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon Dried Maldive fish flakes OR Japanese Bonito (tuna) flakes
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon tumeric powder, 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon salt
Potato:
One potato, salt & pepper
Method
Side of greens:
In hot oil, I crackle mustard seeds, saute onions till brown around the edges.
Add Dried Maldive fish flakes, diced green chillies, Kai Lan, tumeric powder, garam masala and 2 Tablespoons fresh/frozen grated coconut and salt.
Potato:
Microwaved a peeled whole potato until cooked through.
Heat some oil till it is very hot. Plop in the whole cooked potato, flattened it with the back of my frying slice, season with salt and pepper;
Hold it down with the frying slice for about 2 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy. Do the same for the other side.
Eat it hot as like french fries, it will lose its crispiness when cooled.

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