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Monday, March 08, 2021

The Back Burner: Tomato Chutney for really lazy people

This super basic tomato chutney recipe has been perfected by paring it down to the absolute basic ingredients necessary for the right taste and texture

Written by Pooja Pillai | New Delhi |
Updated: January 23, 2021 12:37:25 pm
tomato chutney, easy recipeConsider this chutney as the foundation you should master before you start experimenting with more ingredients to create a more complex version. (Photo credits: Pooja Pillai)

A few months ago, a friend, who’s practically helpless in the kitchen, texted me to ask what was the easiest chutney she could make to go with her breakfast. The recipe in this post is, more or less, what I sent to her. It’s a recipe that I myself resort to on mornings when I’m feeling lazier than usual and there’s no chutney podi. I’ve perfected it over a few years, cutting out ingredients and paring it down to the absolute essentials for the right taste and texture. In fact, consider the recipe below as the foundation you should master before you start experimenting with more ingredients to create a more complex chutney.

Ingredients:

Tomatoes (medium), roughly chopped – 4
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Hulled, split urad dal – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
Oil (preferably coconut or sesame) – 1 tbsp
Salt, to taste

Method:

*Heat oil in a wok, on medium flame, and add the mustard seeds.

*When they pop, turn down the flame and add the urad dal. They’ll become golden in about 20 seconds, at which point, add the fenugreek seeds and the asafoetida, quickly followed by the curry leaves, tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.

*Stir to mix everything thoroughly and allow the tomatoes to cook. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. If you think the chutney is looking dry, add a couple of teaspoons of water.

*When the tomatoes are cooked (the peel will start to come off the flesh, and the oil will separate), mash them lightly with a spoon. You can leave some chunky bits, if you like, for texture.

*Serve chutney with dosas, idlis, rice or even roti.

tomato chutney, easy recipe Would you try? (Photo credits: Pooja Pillai)

For a tomato chutney with more complex flavours, add any or all of the following:

Garlic (crushed)
Ginger (grated)
Onion (finely chopped or grated)
Fresh coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Jaggery or sugar
Fresh coconut (grated)
Green chillies (finely chopped)
If you can find them, you can also use green tomatoes, for a tangier chutney.

[The Back Burner is a blog that will talk about all things food (with recipes, of course)]

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