Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tomato Saar

Pronounced sour, though in reality it is a little tart, a little sweet, a little spicy and resplendently tomato flavored. Not a soup though you could slurp it by the spoonful. Hailing from the Konkan area of western India, saar is almost always  made with coconut milk. A looser version is made with kokum or dried mangosteen. Purplish in color, it is has similar qualities, but unlike tomato saar, kokum saar or sol kadhi is drunk like juice or lassi. Sarry for the lecture.... Back to the tomato version as I'm in throes of tomato heaven.

The joy of using a just harvested tomato is undeniable. I am overwhelmed with my crop. Four ziploc bags filled with plums take up residence in the freezer. Friends reap the benefits of brown baggged gifts. The rest are up for grabs. I have assorted chunks of Big Boy, Pink Heirlooms and Plums which I hope to convert into a parade of reds.  Today chunks are boiled with a sprinkle of water and a pinch of salt. Tomatoes release their juices as they bubble. I let them dry out till you get a pulpy mess. Using an immersion blender I turn the pulp into a puree. Big mistake!!!!!! will be covered in tomato splatter. On second thoughts I will use a blender or processor the next time. Ghee, mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried and fresh chiles and coconut milk give the puree an Indian spin. All it needs is some hot rice or a phulka for a satisfying meal.

Serves 2

2 cup Tomato chunks
A pinch of Kosher Salt 
1 teaspoon Ghee
1/8 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon Cumin seeds
4-5 Curry leaves
1 dried Red Chile, broken in half
2 fresh green Chiles, cut into chunks
3/4 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
Fresh Cilantro Sprigs

Place tomato chunks into a deep saucepan.

Sprinkle a little water over chunks and place on a medium flame. Bring to boil and let tomatoes cook for 10 minutes. Stir from time to time. Let most of liquid evaporate. 

Puree tomatoes using a blender. 

Heat ghee in a deep saucepan.

When it's hot add mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves and dried and green chiles. Let seeds splutter 20 seconds.

Pour tomato puree to saucepan and stir to mix.

Add coconut milk and salt and bring the saar to a low boil for 5 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and serve.

I eat mouthfuls of rice and saar, licking my fingers as the meal progresses. Mild flavors do not make mild manners! Saary again!!

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