Friday, 18 June 2010
Sun Dried Tomato Pickle
Sun Dried Tomato Pickle
Pickle is almost mandatory in every household in Tamilnadu and am guessing in North India as well. I am such a lover of hot food and needless to say really enjoy pickles. I normally dislike curd rice unlike most tamil Brahmins, but if there is a good pickle, I will just gobble it happily. As I have said in my profile, my ancestral origin is from Kumbakonam in southern India and people from there are very meticulous when it comes to cooking. My paternal grandmother was an excellent cook and nothing can ever beat her pickles. She would make avakkai (mango) pickle with channa dal in it. I really wish I could have written down her recipes. She is my benchmark when it comes to pickles!
Coming to tomato pickle, I have my own standard recipe that I follow and will post it soon. I just wanted to do something different. I remember a neighbour of my grandparents made a tomato pickle and I gathered only part of the recipe (I was probably 12-13 years old then). I knew she used tamarind and she had sun dried the tomatoes. If you know about British summer, you may appreciate my difficulty getting even clothes dried in the sun leave alone tomato. Even if I attempt, there is every chance that it will unexpectedly rain and I will bin everything. So decided to keep things simple. Bought a packet of sub dried tomatoes, which I thought were pricey. And here is what I did with it...
½ packet sun dried tomatoes
¼ tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon fenugreek powder (if you do not like its flavour skip or reduce quantity)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon chilly powder (adjust according to your taste)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼-1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
Salt to taste
Cooking oil (preferably groundnut oil)
Tear up some sun dried tomatoes using your kitchen scissors. Try not to make them too small. Add the tamarind paste to water (about a cup) and soak these tomatoes in it for 30-60 minutes.
In a wok or skillet or any heavy bottomed vessel, add a tablespoon of oil. Once it heats, add the mustard seeds. After it splutters, add the fenugreek powder, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Cook for a minute taking care they do not burn.
Add the soaked tomatoes along with half the quantity of water. Simmer. Keep adding the left over tamarind water so you can avoid adding too much oil.
Allow it to reduce well. Add chilly powder. Add salt as well but be careful not to add too much as the sundried tomatoes themselves are coated with salt. If you are making a big batch or will keep the pickle for long, then you may have to put slightly more salt.
Simmer well, the longer it simmers, the better the flavours. Add a teaspoon of oil just before you take it off the flames.
Pickle is ready! Enjoy with rice or any bread.