Spicy Tomato Chutney – Cooking on a Shoestring Budget

There is something very basic and wholesome about tomatoes. The acidic, tangy taste, the thick pulpy flesh, the gorgeous red color, and last but not the least, the awesome nutritional profile – every single aspect of the tomato makes it a much-valued addition to every meal.

Tomatoes are known for their high Vitamin C, A and K content. The lycopene is tomatoes is cherished for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing properties. Most importantly, lycopene has been known to be very beneficial in promoting prostrate, colon and pancreatic health. Regular intake of tomatoes also reduces the risk of heart disease, cholesterol, migraines and diabetes.

In the west, tomatoes are generally used in salads, as a base for soups, gazpacho, and as a sauce in chili and other dishes. In India, tomatoes are eaten during every single meal: as a base in gravies, in sambar and rasam, as chutneys to be used as an accompaniment to nearly every main course. This tomato chutney recipe is very easy to make and very popular in India. In the summer, when there is an abundance of fresh tomatoes, the Indian housewife always makes this chutney. It stores well – for a couple of weeks (if you make large enough quantities and it is not polished off the first day!), and is a handy accompaniment for any main course. It goes well with rice, chapathis, tortillas, idly (steamed rice cakes), dosa (Indian version of crepes!), oothapam (Indian version of pancake) or even smothered on a slice of whole wheat bread!

Here is what you need:
8 tomatoes (medium size)
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
handful fresh garlic pods (peeled and washed)
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch asofoetida powder (optional, if you cannot source it, but very good for health so try to incorporate – available at any Indian grocery store)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted, chopped peanuts (optional)
Here is how you make this:
Wash and chop tomatoes into small cubes. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seed and wait until they crackle. Now add the cumin seeds and roast for 10 seconds. Add the asofoetida powder. Immediately add the garlic pods and roast for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and chili and turmeric powder.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the juice evaporates and the tomato chutney takes on the consistency of a thick paste.

Remove from fire and garnish with roasted, chopped and unsalted peanuts. Store in the refrigerator for upto a couple of weeks. Serve with any main dish.

Tomatoes (about 1 lb): $1.49 or $3.99 (if organic)
Oil : $0.50
Spices: $0.20
Peanuts: $0.30
Total : $2.49 or $4.99 (if organic)

Makes 15 servings of 1 tsp each.

Cost per serving: $0.16 or $0.33 if organic tomatoes are used.


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