Vegan Lifestyle

TOMATO SABZI / FRY TOMATOES a.k.a TOMATO CHOKA IN A POT (Like my Mum used to call it)

It’s Asha here! This is hopefully the first in many recipes on this site.

One of our favourite dishes of all times is this dish and we dedicate this post to my Mum. She called it Tomato Choka, but really in Trinidad this is known as ‘Fry Tomatoes’ and in India as Tomato Sabzi.

Choka itself is popular in Trinidadian homes and is usually served for breakfast with roti or fried bake.
Of course there are so many variations to the recipe, and no two Tomato Choka dishes tastes the same.

Choka refers to the method of preparing a dish. It is usually made with a vegetable or fish which is cured dry, then fire roasted to give it that wonderful smoky flavour. Then it is tempered with onions, garlic and chilli peppers in hot oil. It is also given to the vegetable tempered and cooked in a pot.

The most popular are of course tomato, eggplant (baigan),  salt-fish and smoked herring. There is even now pepper choka…..yes made totally with roasted scotch bonnet and bird’s eye chilli peppers
For me I indulge in the first two.

But roasting these vegetables over an open flame can be:
1. Time consuming
2. Annoying when the smoke alarm is continuously triggered from the smoke over an open flame.

These minor challenges can be overcome by:
1. Rubbing the vegetables with a little olive oil, placing in a tray in the oven to grill them, turning
2. Making tomatoes in a pot… roasting…simple tasty and so easy to prepare.

So here is to Tomato Choka…in a pot! As my Mum called it. Simple and nutritious
This was served with boiled and sautéed cassava. This combination is one of my Dad’s favourite meals…..recipe for the cassava will be in a separate blog post.

Tomato Sabzi/Fry Tomatoes/ Tomato Choka in a pot

6  tomatoes ( 2.5 inch diameter) chopped
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
1  medium onion chopped
3  cloves garlic chopped
1-2 small red chilli peppers chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1/4 cup of chopped coriander or Trinidadian Green Seasoning
1/2 – 1 tsp salt ( according to your taste)
3 tsp tomato paste

Here are all the ingredients, along with the cassava. I have a Masala Dabba (Spice Tin), where I keep my spice mix. Cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, garam masala, tumeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder.

Usually I am not one for laying out all my ingredients as shown here. I am more the kind of girl who chops ingredients along the way.

Heat the oil in a cooking pot of your choice on medium-high. You will know it is ready by putting a cumin seed in and if it crackles, you’re ready to go!
The cumin-mustard seeds go in and allow to crackle for about 8-10 seconds

Then add the chopped onions and chilli and cook until the onion starts to become translucent

Then add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 mins. At this point you can add a one inch piece of ginger chopped. This is optional

Add the chopped tomato, and stir well. Then stir in the dried spices. So in go the coriander and turmeric powder. Stir well. Add salt to taste. Then add the tomato paste

Cover and cook on a medium to low heat now for about 10-12 mins, stirring occasionally. With the back of the spoon I give the still intact pieces of tomato a squash.
I sometimes need to add a few teaspoons of water, to give the dish a bit of “sauce”. This great for dipping your roti or bake into. Yum!
This is now the time to taste the Choka, and add more salt if needed. A little tip is, if it is a bit sour (tomatoes sometimes can be sour), add a sprinkle of sugar. Then add the chopped coriander or the Green Seasoning. Stir thoroughly.

Then serve! This was the finished Tomato Choka and note that this time I used chopped coriander. Also here is the boiled and sautéed cassava, which was the accompaniment to the tomatoes.

This recipe will serve 3-4 people

Each time I make this dish, my hubby’s eyes light up and I get the biggest smile! I hope that your culinary journey is as delightful, as it is for me.

Love and Light
Asha x