mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Tomato Chutney

In Chutneys, Dips and Spreads, Low Fat, on the side, Preserves, Tea Party, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on March 30, 2007 at 10:38 pm

tomato chutney

Tomayto-tomahto, tamahtar-timahtar. What a vegetable! Yes, yes, I know, technically it is a fruit, a berry. And a berry good one it is ๐Ÿ™‚ . So good that even Kashmiris have begun to include it into their traditional recipes, tamatar-baingan being among my Dadโ€™s favourites. But there’s no Kashmiri recipe today. Letโ€™s do another one for โ€˜the left-sideโ€™, the side reserved on the Maharashtrian thali for pickles, relishes, and chutneys.

There is this tomato chutney I make that uses just a few ingredients. I watched Sanjeev Kapoor make it many years ago on his very popular show Khaana Khazaana. I didnโ€™t note down the recipe but since the ingredient list was short I was able to make a very decent chutney when I tried it soon after. I have made it many times since but always going by โ€˜feelโ€™ as most of us who have been cooking for a considerable time tend to do. When you do that, it becomes hard to write recipes down. This blog is becoming a repository where I must commit to measurable units. Already, I check here for a couple of my own recipes! So, today I measured as I went about adding the ingredients.

There is practically no oil in this chutney, just enough to pop the kalonji (nigella seeds). Kalonji, sometimes incorrectly described as onion seed, is a spice that is used sparingly in the Indian kitchen. The Bengalis use it more regularly as part of the panch phoran, a wonderful blend of five spices. Punjabis include it in their mango pickle where it provides the unique flavour, distinct from the mango pickles from south of the Vindhyas (link with phonetics!). Kalonji comes into its own in Paparia that I make during Divali. It finds its way into my North Indian karhi as well.

Use your own sense of โ€˜feelโ€™ to change things around to your taste. This is a delightful relish โ€“ sweet and hot and tart, all at the same time. The subtle flavouring provided by the modest use of kalonji adds notes that linger on your tongue and stay in your memory. Thereโ€™s no need to defer; you have all the ingredients in your pantry, and tomatoes are plentiful. I would think that the recipe should work with canned tomatoes as well, if you are out of fresh ones or want to reduce the preparation time. This is just the chutney to reawaken sagging appetites in the sweltering heat of the summer that is almost upon us.

tomato chutney

Tomato Chutney
Tamatar ki Chutney

Plump tomatoes, cut into eighths, enough to make 4 cups
ยพ C white vinegar
1-2 dozen whole dry red chillies (to taste)
ยฝ t refined peanut oil
ยฝ (level) t kalonji (nigella seeds)
gur (jaggery) broken into 1-2″ chunks, enough to make 1 C

Soak the red chillies in white vinegar for 3-4 hours. Heat oil in a heavy bottom non-reactive pan. Add kalonji. Shake around till fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook on medium heat till soft, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar with the chillies. Cook another 5-8 min. Add the jaggery and simmer. Adjust the sweetness and the salt. Simmer another 10 min. Cool and store in clean jars. It will thicken some as it cools. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely! But, my guess is, it is not going to be sitting there for long. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

Serve cold or at room temperature as an accompaniment to any meal, with paranthas, on sandwiches, as a dipโ€ฆthe possibilities are limitless.

I am sending this over to RPโ€™s Workshop for JFI:Tomato. Jihva for Ingredients originated at Indiraโ€™s Mahanandi and features new ingredients every month. RP is guest hosting this month with the versatile tomato as her chosen ingredient.

As happy coincidences go, my friend Manisha also had tomato chutney on her mindโ€ฆ And Meeta said something about red being the trend?? How’s this for red?!

tomato chutney

  1. that’s odd…i was about to post something that features kalonji as a main ingredient as well…I’ll be back to hack… ๐Ÿ™‚

    That’s what I said to Manisha when she posted Thakkali! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yummy, yummy…..Thank you ji, especially for adding kalonji :).

    i love this one with parathas.
    thodi chutney idhar bhi bhejiye :).

    BTW, kal phir Rave idli banayi…..ah! that flavor!

    Aji, chhodo bhi ji ji! ๐Ÿ™‚
    So, is this Punjabi then?

  3. Now how simple is that! So this is a tikhat-ambat-god recipe. Need to get through this weekend and then will make it. And you’re right, I have everything except tomatoes.

    We got 3-4 inches of snow yesterday so no sweltering anything for us just as yet. And it’s all gone today. Funny how this felt warm in winter but after tasting several weeks of warm weather, it’s very cold again!

    I think Medha might like it too. Use fewer chillies if you like.

    I saw those pics! You’re making me miss CO so much!

  4. I think my next post is going to be Gujarati kadi.

    (What, another coincidence…?) Just thinking…maybe…or surely? Thanks for the advance notice. Believe me when I tell you I have a very good recipe for it (I pray that I wrote my MIL’s recipe down somewhere – if not, I can always call her sister!).

  5. Punjabis do have a liking for kalonji, quite like Bengali and Oriya cuisine. This humble spice finds place mostly in chutneys and achaars unlike Bengali and Oriya khana, where its a part of phoron/tadka.

    ji…..oh well, you can say its a Punju habit. like haanji, aur sunao ji :).

    Anita: No, I was referring to the chutney! ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW, i forgot to mention, i tried half of my rave idlis with Nupur’s stuffed idli recipe-instead of adding grated carrots at the bottom of each section-they looked quite good.

    Great. You’re ‘personalizing’ your idli. Now what did you have them with?

  6. LOL! No! I was teasing you…you said something about North Indian karhi – maybe that was a hint of the next post to come.

    I forgot how hungry WordPress gets and forgot to type in special characters. The rest of my post said:

  7. Musical, she’s hoping you will say you had rava idlis with tomato chutney. ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. “Great. Youโ€™re โ€˜personalizingโ€™ your idli. Now what did you have them with?”

    Manisha is right! 2 different types of chutneys including the tomato chutney (which one, keep on guessing) :))

    BTW, i was thinking of doing post(s) on kadhi(s)…..but looks like there’s already a lot of kadhi in store this weekend-i’ll bring mine over later ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’m going to wait till Manisha posts her’s!

  9. Musical, she’s hoping you will say hers.

    As for kadi, time nahin hai yaar! Right now I am rather upset because my camera has hot pixels. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Excuses already?

  10. lal chadi , maidan khadi, kya khoobh ladi, kya khoobh ladi.yum!

    I hope you are referring to the whole red chillies ! ๐Ÿ™‚
    The chutney does get hotter if you let it sit for a week, as the heat starts to bleed out into the tomatoes.

  11. Shaheen, I think this weeks going to be maiden ‘kadhi’ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Quick Question, Anita. Why vinegar when the tomatoes provide the sour quotient? As a preservative?

    Hi, Shaheen. Yes, I think that is what gives the chutney a long shelf life. And the taste is not too sour despite it. Probably because pulp ripe tomatoes are sweeter than the green or unripe ones.

    OOps! That should have been “Hi, Vee!” Occupational hazards of starting other conversations on my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry, Vee.

  12. Aaaah-the many manifestations of tomato chutney!! Kalonji is intriguing. The chutney looks so pretty ๐Ÿ™‚


    Hi Smita. The kalonji is the star in this chutney. Just a hint, but so different.

  13. “Iโ€™m going to wait till Manisha posts herโ€™s!”

    He he, first it was Kheer vs Paal Payasam

    and now Kadhi vs. Kadhi

    good for me, i get two kheers and two kadhis :))

  14. Ain’t happening. Got too much work to do. But then again I might just make kadi cos I have to. Have half a gallon’s worth of dahi and another gallon of milk. Tomorrow night is my next milk delivery and if I skip, I will have to buy more milk during the week and then by next Sunday, I will be in the same dilemma as I am in currently. So after several hours of deep thought, I figured I have to make a quick kadi tonight, make more dahi tomorrow and not skip delivery tomorrow. This way I don’t have to get into skipping or taking delivery and freezing and… Life is so complicated I tell you.

  15. BTW, I make the sweet kadi cos otherwise the resident Gujjus don’t enjoy it as much. The kadi my Mom made had no sugar in it. That was soon overshadowed and replaced by the kadi my sister learned from her Marwadi m-i-l which had lots of methi seeds and adrak in it, no sugar. I hardly get to have those kadis anymore. It’s the sweet kadi for me now.

    For me, the North Indian kadi wins. Even without Anita posting it. ๐Ÿ˜€

    No point posting then…(actually, I didn’t take pictures..)

  16. Oh! My kadhi (Punju) also has ginger and methra in it :). But these days i am not into pakore wali kadhi-trying to curtail the fried stuff ;).

    I make it with different vegetables…..and other things :). and sometimes i make the simple majjige huli/morkozhambu.

  17. Oh…Anita, Manisha, Musical….do post the kadhi recipes!!! I can’t tell you how much i love it….I’ve made it a few times using different recipes, but what I’d really like is one that tastes like the canned Jyoti brand… LOL …. for canned food, it’s really very good stuff….I’m not too fond of the Gujerati style Manisha, sorry….made a recipe once, and didn’t care for the sweetness…. a baghaar

    Patience, Pel, patience. But I have no idea what the canned kind tastes like. True, sometimes what is less like food can taste much better!
    With the temperature already touching 38 degrees in March, I will have lots of sour dahi soon…so lots of kadhi happening in the near future. I like the sweet Gujju kadhi too; and the Marathi kind as well!

  18. (continued) with kalonji is a must! does baghaar rhyme with….er…that word we weren’t going to talk about? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Yes, it does, Pel. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. That last photo really is beautiful Anita. So many different reds when you look closely!
    Thanks for doing that link… I just found it ๐Ÿ™‚
    Is “paparia” related to “papad” and “papadum”?

    I have an interesting show about South Indian food that I videotaped from “the Food Network”… the hostess traveled around to various cities and places such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kerala backwaters, Mumbai…. they had a segment on the “cottage industry” of papad-making…and showed women taking the dough home and sitting with a group of family/friends making papads and drying them in the sun. That was really neat!

    I think you are referring to the beautiful Padma Lakshmi (NY Model, cook book writer, and current wife of Salman Rushdie!) in that episode she did in Southern India with ‘meen moily’, and inside the temple kitchen…

    Papad making is indeed a cottage industry, with Lijjat Pappad being the best known brand. “Lijjat Pappad, started by seven housewives on a rooftop, now has 40,000 working women and a turnover of Rs 300 crore. It is phenomenal, the involvement of communities…” (Arun Shorie). It is not owned by a person, but is a cooperative which has its own Wiki entry!

    On Paparia -I do not know the etymology but would guess in agreement with you. It is of either Marathi or Rajasthani (my MIL was born and brought up there) origin, though I have never seen it served in any other Maharashtrian family. I invite my Marathi friends (and those who know about the cuisine of these two states) to throw some light here…

  20. Folks, hurray! lemme share this gem of a news with you!
    Forget hot pixels-my camera fell into water today and is not working!

    Uhuh…..really the last thing i wanted!

    and to think of it-i have made tomato kadhi (was planning to submit it for JFI)…..cell phone pictures simply not that good!

    anyway, life is to smile and move on ๐Ÿ™‚

    Post the recipe anyway…we’ll wait for the pics. Camera phone pictures can be awesome – haven’t you seen Route 79?

  21. Hope the pics look OK…..

    I will post the recipe anyway, thankfully there are some posts i got done so i can keep the blog going. I usually post acmera phone pics. on my other blog, but foodies want better stuff ;).

    But thanks a ton for the encouragement…..i needed it badly…..and who knows the camera might just come back to life…..and i might borrow an ancient camera from someone that still uses compact-flash cards to rescue a cpl. of things!

  22. tomato and kalonji are made for each other. nice recipe. i make something similar, without the gur. ought to try this.

    It’s really good with gur! Better than with sugar; gives a darker hue.

  23. Anita, thanks a ton…..posted on kadhi ๐Ÿ™‚
    the pictures look decent enough…..
    The camera also is feeling better…..atleast the power came on!

    Mucho gracias ๐Ÿ˜€

    You are welcome, Musical.

  24. Musical- I hope your camera is alright, your pics look great just the same, never would have known you used a camera phone. And see Anita? I got my wish…Musical is an angel…

    Anita- yep! that’s the one…where she was the first woman in the temple kitchen in like 20-30-some years….a touch of molasses in the sambar ๐Ÿ™‚ Padma is now the host of some cooking reality show, I can’t recall the name, but caught an episode a while back. She is very beautiful, and in that South India show I was wondering if she and the Malayali coconut man…well, maybe that was before she was married to Salman…;-)

    Your MIL is Rajasthani? So, is the bharleli mirchi recipe NOT Marathi then?

    Though my MIL was born in Rajasthan, she was brought up very Maharashtrian! But naturally, some of the local foods must have influenced their cooking, and I am not sure if Paparia is not one such thing. The other factor that makes me think so is that I don’t know any (other) Maharashtian recipe that uses kalonji. My MIL could also make a mean gatte ka saag, a typical Rajasthani delicacy. Rest assured, bharleli mirchi is very much Maharashtrian (Gujjus may have a version though).

  25. I had commented on Manisha’s thakkali chutney that I had made one thakkali chutney based on my grandmom’s recipe…though I didn’t think it tasted right in the beginning, it is tasting quite fantasic after sitting in the fridge for two weeks…
    Yours with the gud sounds good, I may use it to dip thepla when Im too lazy to make any vegetable along with it…I don’t stock Nigella seeds in my spice rack, have used it only as a part of panchphoran. May be I shall buy some ‘loose’ from the baniya.

    I am planning to try thakkali…!
    This chutney is great from the get go! ๐Ÿ™‚ It does get hotter as it sits though. Try it, you’ll love it. It is so simple, and practically zero fat, and oodles of healthy lycopene.

  26. Thats a very good description. I am a huge fan of Sanjeev Kapoor. Unlike any other chefs, his recipes always turn out to be hits. I usually make a elaborate tomato chutney. Would try your version very soon.

    Hi, Shilpa. He has de-mystified a lot of other cuisines for Indians.

    This is a super relish to try. You’ll love it.

  27. Very alluring, the picture is almost real. Tomato is among my favourites, easy to whip up, a bit of fried onion and chilli ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember taking a fancy to Tomato pickle long ago, and it had amused me to know ‘Tomato se bhi pickle bantha hai?’.

    Nice photography.

    Hi, Anil! It is ‘real’! I know, what you mean. Very life-like, you want to reach out and have some! I was very happy with the pictures here, especially the red colour. No touchup, whatsoever!

  28. I think paparia would be Rajasthani. Even the name does not sound Maharashtrian although I am quick to say it is! It is simply delicious!

    The important thing is we know it’s great, and we know how its made! Hum sab Hindi hain…! No referrence to the language people, before y’all come after me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. We just have her running scared now, don’t we Manisha?

    Me Likes it.. [Evil Laugh]

    Comment moderation? There were some tips I read somewhere… ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Your comments are belong to us. Muwhahahahaha!

    Pel, Musical even has wings to prove it.

    [and she’d said her good-byes! Takes us for fools, she does!]

  31. Hey Anita
    This chutney looks so lovely. We make a similar one and sometimes we use mustard while at other times its kalonji. Never added white vinegar though.

    Hi Sandeepa. And it’s the kalonji that makes this version so different!

  32. “Musical has wings”

    He he, how cute i must be looking with wings and halo ๐Ÿ˜€

    Anita, this is the perfect Mad Tea Party going ๐Ÿ˜€

  33. Ye halo kahan se aaya bhai?! I only said wings…:D

  34. Manisha, what’s her halo doing? ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Ugh typo. should have been agaya instead of aaya. I think. %\

    I asked how a halo came into the picture when I was only talking wings.

  36. I had the same problem last time I got buffalo wings and they were pushing me to add a side of onion rings…

  37. “where di the halo come from”

    My fertile imagination ๐Ÿ˜‰ ofcourse, i needed the halo to go with the wings!

  38. Pel, you’re killing me! First with what is her halo doing, now this…

    Musical, you’re such a great sport!

  39. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
    Don’t (any of) you ever need any sleep?

  40. Pel :). Too Much..
    Musical, all that is left is an accordian. Help me out here, pel. Buffalo wings, Onion rings and ..?
    Anita, Angel leg pullers never sleep…

  41. is it an accordian or a harp?

  42. Vee-
    It’s a harp dear. If you do see one with an accordian that would be the time to cut down on the chianti…

  43. What does it mean when I see one with an electric guitar? (hic)

  44. bhooooooooooooooooooooooooooot! ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. Pel, you are funny ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. hmmm, and I thought it was all that vodka I added to the chutney instead of vinegar….

  47. First time here.You got a wonderful blog with alot of delicious recipies.Nice click for this tomato chutney

  48. […] drink, or cooked into sweet-sour chutneys/relishes that have a long shelf-life.ย  Inspired by this tomato relish (with the markets full of lovely summer tomatoes it’s time to make this one too!) I tried a […]

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