Green Tomato Chutney

The taste of green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes) is a little different from the red ones. I have often had dishes made with the green variety and have enjoyed them thoroughly. So, I was delighted that the Saturday organic market had some green tomatoes to offer. I wasted no time in lapping them up. And promptly told Hari the recipe. The next morning, my yearning of many years was fulfilled. Why many years? It’s because you do not often see the unripe tomatoes in the markets in this part of the world. Even when I was growing my own tomatoes, I could not enjoy green ones as fruiting was not coordinated. Therefore, I would, at most, get two green tomatoes at a time. Hardly enough to make a decent dish. But enough of my woes. Let me get down to the exciting green tomato chutney.

Green Tomato Chutney

4 large unripe green tomatoes
4 green chilis, split
2 garlic cloves
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi powder, manjal podi)
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera powder, jeeraga podi)
Unrefined salt to taste
3 tbsp white sesame seeds powder (safed til powder, vellai ellu podu)
1 tsp tamarind extract (only if the tomatoes are not tangy enough)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1/2 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1 clove garlic, crushed
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 red chili, broken into two
1 sprig curry leaves
Soak the tamarind (if using) in 3 tbsp of hot water
Extract the juice after the water has cooled
Set aside
Roast the sesame seeds on low heat till they turn aromatic
Remove from flame
Cool and grind to a powder
Set aside
Heat a wok and roast the green chilis
When they change colour, remove from flame and set aside
In the same wok, add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy (sprinkle water, as necessary)
Add the tamarind paste (if using)
Cook for a couple of minutes and switch off flame
When the tomatoes are cool, transfer them to a blender
Add green chilis, garlic cloves, cumin, turmeric powder and salt
Pulse a couple of times
Add sesame powder and pulse again
Set aside
Heat a small wok and add the mustard seeds, cumin and the Bengal gram and split black lentils
When the lentils turn golden brown, add the garlic, curry leaves and red chili
Sauté for a minute, add the asafoetida and add this to the cooked tomatoes
Serve with idli, dosas… or steamed red/brown/millet rice

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