I studied journalism in college. The entire faculty comprised working professionals. In our final year, we had just two two-hour classes a day, which left us with enough time for internships, studies (not that we indulged ourselves much in this activity!) and aimless roaming about. My gang of friends – there were four of us: Garema, Aanchal and Aparna, apart from me – was always up to some fun.
We were perpetually out of cash and would typically visit these so-called ‘hep’ coffee shops, pool in some money and order one dish and share. Whenever we went to Café Coffee Day, Aparna would generously order the sizzling brownie (it cost Rs 60 or so back then and was a real treat!) and all of us would shamelessly attack.
I’ve always been a fan of chocolates (who isn’t!) but it was thanks to Aparna that I grew real fond of it. She was also quite a pro at baking and would churn out lovely chocolate cakes. I’ll never forget the lovely chocolate cake she baked for my birthday – we had the last exam that day and it was a tough subject. But she took an hour out of her revision time the previous day to bake it for me. Man, was I touched!
After much coaxing, she did part with her eggless chocolate cake recipe. There are hundreds of cake recipes available online, but the one she gave me will always be the most special for me. I’ll put up a post of the same next time I make it.
But for today, I’ll share a tomato chutney recipe she taught me a few days ago. The interesting thing about this simple, yet tasty chutney is that tomatoes are charred over direct heat or grilled the way brinjals are in baingan ka bharta. This chutney’s quite commonly prepared inBihar (where her husband hails from) she told me.
I think I did not char my tomatoes enough, so the tomatoes in the final chutney tasted neither raw nor fully cooked. I suggest you prepare it with a little more patience than me and tell me how it turned out!
Tamatar ki chutney
(quantities mentioned here will yeild 1/2 cup of chutney)
Tomatoes (medium ripe) – 2 big
Onion (finely chopped) – 1 (medium)
Garlic (finely chopped) – 1 tsp
Green chilies (finely chopped) – 1 tsp
Mustard oil – 1/4 tsp (5-6 drops, says my friend Aparna’s hubby Vikash )
Grill the tomatoes (or roast them directly on the gas burner) for 8-10 mins each till the skin is totally charred and starts to peel
Take off heat. Peel the charred skin and mash flesh roughly with a spoon/fork
Mash it thoroughly with your hands when cool
Add chopped onions, garlic, salt and oil
Mix well and serve
It is necessary to char tomatoes properly otherwise you’ll end up with half-cooked tomatoes like I did! It still did taste good, but the burnt smell (essential to this chutney) was missing
I’m averse to raw onions and garlic and left out the latter and the chutney tasted quite good still
I don’t stock mustard oil and I did not substitute it with any other oil either. But for those who can’t stand the heat of the raw green chilies, a little oil might help. And no, the dish will not be complete without the green chilies!
PS: I forgot to take pics of the chutney, but just think specks of white and green on a bed of red. It is a visual treat as much as a good side dish for dosa, rotis and bread.