This is a quick side dish for Venn Pongal /Vada/ Chappathi/Dosa /Puris and Idlis. It`s pretty much easy and simple to make but vrey delicious and appetising. I remember one time when my mami made this for Pongal. We simply lapped it up!!! Yeah…its that good!!!
4 Big Slicing Tomatoes or Tomatoes on the Vine. Double the quantity for Roma.
1 inch Ginger finely grated.
3 Green Chillies vertically slit.
1/2 spoon Red Chilli Powder.
Puree all the tomatoes in the mixer without adding much water and set aside.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, pop in mustard, broken urad dhal and curry leaves.
When the mustard splutters, add grated ginger, slit green chillies, curry leaves and a pinch of hing.
Allow a couple of seconds to saute and then immediately add the pureed tomato.
If needed, you can add 1/8 cup of water to the mixer and after a quick shake, pour it in to the kadai.
Add turmeric, salt and red chilli powder and stir in well.
Simmer for about ten minutes and switch off heat.
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
As an option to increase the volume in case a large serving is needed, is to saute the onions after the seasoning and then add the tomato puree. This version is made with tomatoes but it can be made without on a day when no onions need to be consumed.
I distinctly remember the first time ever I made a sandwich using a sandwich maker. My aunt had got us a Rowenta Sandwich Maker from the US some fifteen years ago…when it was still unheard of in India. My mom was not too keen to switch to alternate ways of making bread. In her mind, it was pretty satisfactory to toast the bread on a tawa and have it with butter once in a blue moon. My sister was way too young. The others could simply not muster enough time to sit through the ardous task of getting a pin converter and reading the instructions to even start operating it. I had rememberd seeing litttle gadgets in the Home Life Exhibitions, where they had a little bread shaped steel thing, where you could place the bread with the filling and manually toast it over the flame, holding it with the handles provided. It was a novel way of presenting the mundane bread. So I set aside a sunday morning to experiment…and my cousins were only too happy to sample the results of my venture!!!
The first time, I greased the electric plates, placed the bread slices on both sides and wondered what to fill in? I simply pulled out an onion and a tomato and sliced them in to very thin pieces and gingerly placed them on the bread. Sprinkled salt and pepper and some cilantro and covered the filling with the second slice of bread. We all waited with bated breath and were rewarded with the sweet smell of the onions and tomatoes and cilantro roasting in the little apparatus. Three minutes later, the red indicator light switched off and I used a pair of tongs and retrieved the sandwich pieces which were already sliced in to two by now. Crisp on the sides, yet cooked on the inside, it was a tasty treat that morning. From then on it was my own little piece of work as I would find creative fillngs for sandwiches. Bread now had a new intonation in our home….The sandwich had finally arrived!!!
4 slices of bread.
1 tomato sliced very thin.
1/2 onion sliced thin.
Cilantro chopped fine.
A handful of Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese.
Grease the 4 electric plates with cooking spray and allow to preheat for a few minutes.
Place the bread slices and arrange the tomato and onion slices alternately.
Sprinkle salt and crushed pepper and then generous helping of Mozzarella Cheese.
Sprinkle the cilantro and then place the second slice of bread and close.
After about 3 minutes, take out golden brown, crusty on the sides, Tomato Cilantro Cheese Sandwich.
Serve HOT with yummy tomato ketchup.
Serves as an excellent breakfast and quick snack for kids when they come back from school.
Great for packing for short trips and Picnic Lunches, as they are easily eatable with no fuss.
Variations in the filling give an almost completely different taste to the sandwich.
Use peanut butter, apple butter, Alu Masal, Cheese, fruit slices, grilled veggies etc for fillings.
Rasam – slurp!!! It`s my all time favourite comfort food. Even a not so intersting day is made spicy and special simply thinking of making rasam. Of all the rasams that I love, my favourite has always been the home made amma`s piping hot tomato rasam. In India of course, there is a lot of tang to the tomatoes, that amma makes tomato rasam with almost no tamarind. Here, sometimes I need the kick of tanginess from the tamarind so I do liberate myself by using the tamarind water base in the makng of thakkali rasam. On days when I get tomatillos, I use them on their own. I make this rasam in a zillion ways, but here is one of them…
1 big heirloom tomato/slicing tomato/2 roma tomatoes or 3 tomatillos.
1 cup of tamarind extract from a lime sized ball of tamarind.
1 spoon of Rasam Powder.
A pinch of turmeric.
A pinch of hing.
Sprigs of Cilantro.
1/3 cup of cooked toor dhal.
2 vertically slit green chillies.
A spoon of ghee, mustard seeds, curry leaves, pinch of jeera.
In a mixer container, drop half a tomato, a few sprigs of cilantro, curry leaves and 4-5 spoons of tamarind water and grind to a smooth paste.
Add this to the tamarind water already prepared and put in the rasam pot and place over the stove.
Chop the other half of the big tomato in to little pieces and add to the pot.
Slowly add salt, hing, rasam powder, little cilantro, curry leaves, turmeric and allow to simmer on medium low flame.
It`s important that the rasam is simmered in the pot over a low flame for maximum taste.
Take the cooked toor dhal and add a cup of water and using your fingers, mash the dhal and mix it well with the water.
Add this watery toor dhal to the reduced rasam concentrate in the pot.
Stir well and when you see the first boil, switch off, add the remaining sprigs of cilantro and curry leaves, the slit chillies and close with a lid immediately.
In a small kadai, season in ghee using mustard seeds, jeera and a dash of hing and pour over the rasam in the pot.
This chutney is one of my favourites. Its very simple and easy but one that I often make when I feel I want something tangy and spicy and rich!!! It uses simple everyday ingredients that one that throw in and pulse in a few minutes. I remember the delicious three chutney combination that they serve in Saravana Bhavan in Chennai. Crisp but not too soft, fragrant dosas served with tri colour chutnies – tomato, mint and thick white coconut. I was always partial to the tomato and the white chutney and would ask for seconds and often wonder how always the dosa gets done before the chutney does….It`s also a good side for Venn Pongal, rotis and even curd rice… Try it and you`ll love it.
1 Medium Onion.
4 Roma Tomatoes
4 red chillies.
3 spoons of light Coconut Milk.
Green Onions to garnish.
Mustard, Broken Urad Dhal, Curry Leaves.
Chop the onions and tomatoes in to long slices.
In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil and when hot, add mustard, broken urad dhal, red chillies and curry leaves.
Saute for a few seconds and add the chopped onions.
Saute again till the onions are pink and then add the tomatoes.
Sprinkle sufficient salt and mix till the water is all reduced and the tomatoes are cooked well.
Grind all the sauteed ingredients along with 3 spoons of coconut milk to a smooth paste.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped spring onions for a burst of colour and flavour.
Is an excellent accompaniment with Dosa, Idlies and Pongal.
Tomato Rice is an all time delicacy that we always enjoy. The ingredients required for this are available in our pantry and refridgerator everyday. It`s always a quick fix rice dish that I make quite often. The tomato rice that amma used to make was more simple, but over the years, I have rehashed it to make it a lot more flavourful and ambient with multiple tastes. I am not sure if there is an official recipe for tomato rice, but this one works very well for me.
2 cups of Basmati Rice cooked in 31/2 cups of water and cooled.
Thinly sliced garlic out of 5 pods.
Thinly sliced ginger.
5-6 Vertically sliced green chillies.
5 ripe tomatoes sliced in to long pieces. (I gently scoop out the seeds and water from the tomatoes to keep it dry)
This is another versatile chutney that is a great accompaniment to Dosa, Idlis or even Bread Sandwiches. There is a slight twist on the regular tomato chutney as this has its own fresh ground spices that render a unique taste. It`s a tasty spread and I have used it in my Colourful Stuffed Dosa Rolls. I`ve also added a spoon of flax powder for added fiber.
2 Ripe Tomatoes.
A small sprig of corriander leaves.
A spoon of sambar powder.
Roast in Oil and Powder:
2 spoons of urad dhal.
2 spoons of bengal gram.
2 red chillies.
4-5 curry leaves.
Chop the tomato and carrot in to slices and set aside.
Allow the powdered spices in the mixer to cool.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when hot, add mustard and curry leaves and immediately the slices tomato and carrot pieces.
Add required quantity of salt, turmeric, hing, a spoon of flax powder, and a spoon of sambar powder and allow to cook till mushy. Allow to cool.
Grind the tomato carrot mush, along with the spices and a bunch of cilantro leaves to a chutney consistency. There would be no need to add water, as the tomato already releases water when cooked.
For added flavour, grind with a spoon of coconut milk. Another option is to use Onions.
Every evening I have to think of healthy easy quick fix snacks for my husband and daughter…I am not a snack peson, but I have to cater to two completely different palates. There is always the resolve to add as much green leaves and vegetables to our daily food intake. Sometimes I have to give in to certain kinds of snacks like “Bhujia, Chips, etc which are not healthy. So I try to make it up by adding healthy food which my daughter does not prefer to go with the not-so healthy snack, wherever possible. Like this Easy Bhujia Chat. I have added thinly diced raw carrots, raw tomatoes and a spoon of flax powder. I also add a 1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds whenver I have them.
2 cups of Bhujia.
1 carrot diced small.
1/4 onion chopped to small pieces.
1/2 tomato chopped in to small pieces.
1/2 cup of pomogranate seeds.
2 spoons of flax powder.
A dash of squeezed lemon.
Sweet Tamarind Chutney for garnish.
In a bowl add the bhujjia, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, diced carrots and pomogranate seedsand give it a quick mix.
The water from the tomatoes helps in binding the ingredients together.
Add 2 spoons of flax powder and do not worry about it altering the taste. It acts as a catalyst and boosts the fibre in your food, but never changes or alters the taste.
Serve on to cups, add a dash of squeezed lemon and garnish with chopped cilantro and sweet tamarind chutney.
Your kids can help assemble this and its also an easy pre-party snack.
Tomato Thokku is a form of pickle (read delicacy) that`s so often made in my home…but then one never gets enough of it. Its such a versatile side, you can have it with idli, dosa, upma,curd rice, parathas, bread, tortillas and virtually anything else you can think of. Whenever tomatoes are down to 99c a pound, or If I have a few getting ripe, tomato thokku it is…
Here it goes, for the benefit of the others…
15 Medium Sized Tomatoes.
2 Tsp Fenugreek
2 Tsp Salt
3 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 cup of Concentrated Tamarind Extract.
Pinch of Turmeric.
1 Tbsp of Jaggery.
Mustard seeds, Curry Leaves.
Wash the tomatoes, dry them by wiping them and chop them in to tiny pieces.
Dry roast the fenugreek/venthayam on a slow flame until you get the aroma. Its very important that its roasted on a medium low flame as this slow release of flavour adds to the taste. cool it and powder it well in the mixer.
Take a heavy bottomed pan and pour in 8-9 spoons of oil, add mustard and when it starts to splutter, add curry leaves and hing.
Quickly add the tomatoes, hing, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and the tamarind extract.
Stir in the ground venthayam/fenugreek and jaggery also in to the pan.
Allow the tomatoes to cook and simmer on a medium-low flame with constant stirring so that it does not stick to the bottom.
Keep on stirring until the oil seperates from the “thokku”…this should approximately take about 40-45 minutes.
Switch off the stove and allow to cool for 2-3 hours and store in an airtight glass jar.
Enjoy with Rotis, Parathas, Idlis, Doasas, Venn Pongal or yummy curd rice.