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Terrific tomato

india Updated: Apr 04, 2010 16:28 IST
Sanjeev Kapoor
Sanjeev Kapoor
Hindustan Times
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Khana khazana
There are lovely red tomatoes in season. Well, in Mumbai, they are always in season but for the quality that varies from market to market and sabziwala to sabziwala! What I have bought are firm, red, slightly conical and better tasting than some tomatoes I have had in a long time.

Tomato to do list
First of all, relish a salad platter of thinly sliced tomatoes, with chunks of mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, sliced black olives and basil leaves. Prefer to tear the basil with hand. Arrange in concentric circles on a nice white plate. The word relish is just perfect here. And then there are ‘tomato’ soups. The former are thick homemade with added flavours of beetroot and carrot that even a two year old will digest, or take another example of tomato soup with corn and sautéed onion in a milk base, and the latter are best made of thin consistency, given just a little more body with the addition of dal, or basil. Boy, you’ll say it’s so hot so who’s going to have soup! Have a bowlful of this particular one as a light meal (substitute a heavy dinner) and feel good about having given healthy eating a shot! Take some olive oil in a deep non stick pan. Add bay leaf, onion, garlic and sauté till well-browned so as to give a burnt flavour and taste. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and crushed black pepper. Cook with a little water. Discard the bay leaf. Add cilantro and mix. Crush the mixture with a hand blender while the mixture is cooking. Add some dissolved cornflour and adjust salt. Simmer for two minutes. Pour fresh cream in a serving bowl, pour the soup over. Garnish with a small sprig of cilantro. Believe me, soups are excellent fillers for summers, just don’t serve them too hot, or piping hot as the recipes books are wont to say.

More and more uses
My kids enjoy a roasted tomato puree for pasta. One when you roast a tomato the peel comes off easily, so kids get a smoother paste in the food and secondly, the cook knows the roasted tomato adds THE flavour…herbs, cream being the other ingredients. Simple recipe but much loved for the delicate hue of pink that the pasta gets.

Copy cat restaurant food
There have been many queries regarding emulating the perfect restaurant food at home. The secret is a good makhni gravy which uses tomatoes as the base. The exact recipe is thus: Quarter 12 large tomatoes. Put them in a pressure cooker along with salt, half tablespoon of the Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 inch piece roughly chopped ginger and two cups of water. Pressure cook till two whistles. Remove and set aside to cool. Blend the mixture in a blender and strain. Heat ¼ cup butter in a non stick pan, add 1 tablespoon garlic paste, 1 tablespoon ginger paste and two tablespoons of water.

Cook for a minute.
Add the pureed tomatoes and cook for two to three minutes. Dry roast ½ teaspoon kasuri methi in a microwave or on a tawa. Crush. Add ½ tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder to the gravy along with salt, 2 tablespoons sugar or honey. Stir and cook for a minute. Add the crushed kasuri methi and 1 teaspoon garam masala powder. Mix and cook for a minute. Add 1 cup fresh cream only if you need to use the gravy immediately.

Slow Roasted Garlic Tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 80 degrees Celsius or 200 degrees Fahrenheit
Place one tablespoon of sea salt, two tablespoons of lemon juice, four to five coriander stems and one teaspoon paprika in a large mixing bowl and toss
Add four medium tomatoes (cut into wedges), 20 - 25 peeled garlic cloves and five to six large green chillies and rub them in the mixture. Arrange the mixture evenly on a baking tray.
Bake in the preheated oven for twenty to twenty five minutes. Sprinkle with two teaspoons chaat masala and serve


Sanjeev Kapoor — Master Chef, Author, Television Host.
Reach him at enquiry@sanjeevkapoor.com