I saw this wonderful looking tomato at my friend Mrs. G's place the other day. Luckily, I had my digital camera with me, so I could photograph it. Isn't it beautiful?
By the way, none of the traditional Maharashtrian dishes ask for tomatoes. None whatsoever. Maybe a proof of the fact that tomato is not indigenous to India? When they are used in a dish, they are often a substitute for some other sour ingredient like tamarind or kokum. Having said that, I must mention that this vegetable (or is it a fruit?) has been accepted well in the Marathi cuisine and the dishes made with it are utterly delicious. One of them is this Dal with tomatoes. It is like any other Dal, which you too must be making every other day. I mean, I didn't really have to do a post on it. But then how else would I show you the photographs of that attractive tomato? It deserved a proper post to go with it, didn't it? So, here it goes.
Recipe for Tomatochi Aamti
½ cup Toor dal
1 large tomato (or 2 small ones), diced small
a pinch turmeric powder
¼ - ½ tsp chilli powder or 2-3 green chillis, cut into ½ inch long pieces
approx. ½ cup hot water
a pinch sugar to balance the taste (optional)
salt to taste
chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
1 tsp oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
a pinch asafoetida (optional)
7-8 curry leaves
1. Pressure-cook the Toor dal with 1 cup of water. Mash it well so that no lumps remain. Keep it aside.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the cumin seeds.
3. Add the asafoetida, if using. Add the curry leaves.
4. Add the green chillis, if using (not the chilli powder, though). Add the diced tomato(es). Please take care at this step, because the oil tends to jump high at this point, and is likely to cause burns. To avoid this, you could cover the pan as soon as the tomato pieces are added.
5. Let the tomato pieces cook a little. Then add the turmeric powder, cooked Toor dal and hot water. If using chilli powder, add it now.
6. Let the mixture come to a rolling boil. Add salt and sugar, and continue boiling the dal on high heat for about five minutes or till it reaches the consistency/thickness that you like.
7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve piping hot with rice or phulkas/chapatis.
This is one of the simplest Aamtis and can be prepared with the most basic ingredients of Indian cooking. It is one of my favourite ones. However, my fondness for it is nothing compared to the love my cousin, R has for it. He can have it every single day of the year - for lunch as well as for dinner. (That's 730 meals! Omigosh!!)
Anyway, R, this post is dedicated to you.