A tomato chutney best enjoyed with your morning parathas. Photo: Sangeeta Khanna
When people ask me what I eat with my fries or omelettes considering we never buy tomato ketchup, I have no definite answers for them. First and foremost, we don’t eat any fries at home and this junk pairing never made any impact on our food habits. Our ‘fries’ are a lot different and we love them with several dips and chutneys that ketchup is never missed.
But then I understand how the glutamate in tomatoes has captivated the palate, and ketchup is riding upon it with added MSG. My tamatar ki chutney recipe will make you forget the ketchup, trust me. If you have been contemplating to give up ketchup that is.
When we were growing up, the condiments served on the dining table used to change with the season. But, there were always a few types of chutneys and quick-to-make pickles to choose from. Winter tomatoes always made for a great chutney that was more of a jam sometimes, and saucy when it was meant to be served with alu paratha.
Though there is no fixed companion of this tamatar ki chutney and each family has their own favourite way to enjoy it, in my family it is relished with crisp parathas along with other accompaniments.
This tamatar ki chutney is not served at the end of the meal like Bengali chutneys, but each bite of the paratha is smeared generously with it before relishing the sweet, salty and hot flavours of the concoction. Dry red chillies and ginger make it a bit hot and earthy, while jaggery or sugar keeps it sweet for everyone.
500 gm ripe tomatoes (preferably heirloom)
100 gm jaggery
Salt to taste or ½ tsp
1 tbsp grated or minced ginger root
3 broken dry red chillies
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard oil (no substitute for this)
1. Chop the tomatoes in thin slices.
2. Heat the mustard oil and tip in the fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies and minced ginger one after the other. When everything sizzles, it is time to add the tomatoes and salt.
3. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add jaggery, mix well and cook till jaggery dissolves and the chutney looks shiny and bright. You may want to dilute the chutney or thicken it more like a jam. Cook till you get your preferred consistency.
5. Adjust seasoning and bottle it. This chutney will be a saviour in the times of tomato ketchup.
Serve it with fries, fritters or samosas or add it to your daily breakfast menu.
This tamatar ki chutney tastes great with stale alu paratha if you ask me. Try it sometime and you would know why.