Fresh and juicy tomatoes are an essential part of my everyday cooking and the sweet-tangy flavor of the fresh tomatoes are irresistible. Almost every day tomatoes are used in my cooking right from breakfast to dinner, it can be Indian or any other cuisine. South Indians are very fond of chutney (pachadi) and no South Indian meal is completed without a chutney (pachadi).
There are zillion different varieties tomato chutney from instant which needs refrigeration, to avakaya or ooragaya (pickle) where sun dried tomatoes are grinded along with spices and preserved with out refrigeration for year long or more. My mil always sends me pickled version while I make the instant ones here. Both my mom and mil have taught me different ways of doing instant chutney which can be served with South Indian breakfast (like dosa, idly and upma) even as a spread or a dip or as a side dish with rice and dal. This is my mom’s recipe, simple to make and you can still taste the tomatoes without overpowering the taste of spices and anything else.
10-12 large tomatoes
Tamarind (lemon ball size)
1/4th cup vegetable/ peanut oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Red chilli powder, according to taste
10-12 small garlic cloves (peeled)
1/4th tsp hing
Fistful of curry leaves
Clean and chop tomatoes, heat oil in a heavy bottomed deep skillet (pan/pot) on medium heat, add chopped tomatoes, tamarind and keep cooking, do not put the lid at this point. Keep stirring in the middle to avoid burning the bottom of the pot. After 25-30 minutes the tomatoes will start to bubble. Reduce the heat to low-medium, partially cover the pot and simmer until the mixture cooks down to 1/3rd and looks thick (oil will start to float on the top of mixture, it takes 1-1 ½ hr to reach between sauce and jam consistency.) Now add salt and cook for 10 more minutes. Check the taste and add anything needed at this point. Turn off the heat and let the tomato mixture rest.
My mom uses the oil from the cooked tomato mixture to fry the seasoning. You can do the same or you use extra oil (around 2 tbsp).
Heat oil in a small pan/ skillet on medium heat, add garlic, mustard seeds and fry till garlic turns golden brown and mustard seeds pop. Now add hing and curry leaves and fry of a minute. Add red chilli powder, powdered methi & mustard seeds mixture, stir once and turn of the heat. Make sure not to burn the mixture (if brunt throw the mixture, clean the pan and fry again).
Now mix the seasoning into the tomato mixture, cool down completely and shift into container. Keep refrigerator. Stays fresh for 2-3 months.
You can enjoy this delicious chutney with all different kinds of dishes.
Pic #1: @00.00 minutes
Pic #2: @25-30 minutes
Pic #3: @1-1 1/2 hrs
Notes and Tips.
You can use dried red chilli instead of chilli powder. But first you have to dry roast red chillies along with methi and mustard seeds and grind.
I always grind extra powder and store it in the freezer. It always comes handy for me. You can skip the garlic if you don’t like and also can add lentils (urad dal, channa dal) for the seasoning.