Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tomato Saar (Curry)

by Priyanka posted at 2:13 PM 4 comments

After debating for long, I decided to post some authentic recipes from the land of Maharashtra. Afterall, have to pay homage to my ancestral roots- the people and the land I come from.
Hope you enjoy this recipe and the blog!!! Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

Tomato saar

Being a student of science, I know the importance of tomatoes. Tomatoes a.k.a Solanum lycopersicum are the richest source of lycopenes- biflavanoids (which give the tomatoes their red color). Lycopenes act as antioxidants and thus help prevent cancer. Tomatoes, indeed are also a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, niacin, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, sodium and thiamine.

Although research shows that tomatoes originated in South America, specifically Peru, and then made their way to Mexico, Spain, Europe, Asia and then U.S., they are an integral part of a lot of cuisines- be it Italian (Pasta and Pizza sauces), Mexican (salsa), Indian or American. Tomatoes were not an integral part of Indian cuisine before the Portugese and the Spaniards came to India in search of spices and gold and introduced them into the Indian cuisine.

This spicy, sweet and tangy curry made with tomatoes, coconut, jaggery and indian spices is just the one to open up your taste buds and goes very well with plain rice or masale bhaat (a spicy marathi rice dish). It can simply be savored as a soup too. This recipe, that has been handed down to me by my mom, is a slight variation from some others. Some Maharashtrians and Konkanis use coconut milk whereas some South Indians use sambhar powder.

Serves 4

5 large sized tomatoes
4 tsp fresh grated coconut (you can also use dry shredded coconut)
Salt to taste
Jaggery/ sugar
1 cinnamom stick
1 clove buds
curry leaves

To be ground into paste:
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
4 green chilies

For tempering:
2 tbsp oil/ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 bay leaf
1 stick of cinnamon stick
1 clove bud

1. Boil the tomatoes and peel off their skin. Pass them through a seive or process them in a blender.

2. Make a paste of the chilies and cumin (i usually dont add garlic, but if you like it can add it to your recipe- thats another variation) and add it to the tomato puree and heat up the saar.

3. Add the salt, grated coconut, cinnamon, clove buds, curry leaves and jaggery* (should be added at last to help the spices blend into the curry) and bring the curry to a boil.

4. Heat up the oil/ ghee and add the cumin seeds.When they crackle, add the turmeric, asafoetida, spices and pour it over the curry.
5. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

*I prefer jaggery over sugar healthwise and also for the taste.

Comments 4 comments
Anonymous said...

Are you sugar cinnamon and cloves form part of the traditional saar recipe ?

Priyanka said...

I dont know about the traditional part...but this is how it is made at my home since ages:)

Anonymous said...

Using jaggary over sugar health-wise, any detail about how jaggary is better healthwise.

AshaCoolkarni said...

I agree with Priyanka - It is tough to say what is exactly traditional Marathi. This recipe is like Rasam recipe.. every household adds a unique touch to it..

Priyanka - I will try your recipe for sure - seems like the Cinnamon taste would be great for Fall..

My recipe is a bit different - no cinnamon or cloves - and I grind toasted cumin seeds along with tomato puree and fresh coconut - it mixes the flavors really well.. here's a link to the recipe:

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