A multitude of shapes, sizes and colors with names as earthy as beefsteak or as fancy as Indigo Rose, heralding this season for most home gardeners and cooks like no other produce!
Tomatoes are sweet and sour, fleshy and juicy – hence, eaten seasonally, they can be thirst quenching, since they are a watery food especially when ripe. However, in Ayurveda, these fruits are also considered heat-provoking, especially when cooked and eaten in relatively large amounts – say, as a fiery salsa or marinara. If one has excess-heat conditions like flushed and hot skin, hot flashes, stomach acid conditions leading to digestive distress, burning etc., it is best to avoid this fruit.
Whether you grow them yourself or not, sooner or later you find yourself with one too many and needing an easy way to use them up. One of my most favorite ways? A South-Indian style Thokku or relish that keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
- Diced tomatoes – any kind, 4 cups
- A couple of tablespoons of some good cooking oil – I used regular olive oil
- Spices – 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 1 sprig curry leaves (available at an Indian market); 1 teaspoon turmeric powder; 1 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste), 1 tablespoon raw sweetener (anything except honey; I prefer the raw Indian-style jaggery)
- Salt to taste.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat up the oil and add in all the spices and sprig of curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds sizzle and pop.
Add tomatoes, cover and simmer until the whole thing looks like a sauce coming together.
Add salt and sweetener and leave off the lid; let simmer, stirring occasionally, until a jam like consistency is reached.
Enjoy as a spread on a piece of flat bread with some brie; mixed with yogurt; as a relish with a bowl of cold rice noodles in coconut curry sauce! the possibilities are endless! Kinda like summer!
Chutney South-India style!