Lalamma’s Tomato chutney


When you have a glut of tomatoes in the summer this is a great way to use them. Freeze some of it - very useful as a condiment, addition to a meal if it needs something else. When I make tomato chutney I think first of Lalamma, an old great aunt (my mother's mother's sister's widowed husband's second wife, if you must know!!). Of all the things Lalamma used to make, her tomato chutney was just heavenly. I could simply die for it. Lalamma loved garlic (and this recipe has lots of it) but hated ingva (asafoetida, or hing in Hindi) whereas I love ingva. And usually when I make these chutneys I indulge in it. You can buy little yellow jars of asafoetida in any Indian shop in the UK, but recently I discovered Patanjali’s little hing pots in Hyderanad, in that shop they have on Domalguda Road. It is simply and absolutely wonderful – the sound and smell of very little of it put into a hot talimpu is enough to die for.

Four large tomatoes, chopped roughly

Small piece of tamarind (maybe an inch). Optional – could add a drop of tamarind paste, or even a bit of lemon juice.

Green chillies – about three – to taste

Garlic – about five fat cloves

Sunflower oil – about two tablespoons

Dry roast:

Methi seeds – about half a small teaspoon

Cumin seeds – about a teaspoon

Sesame seeds – about half a teaspoon

Dried red chillies – about two or three

For the talimpu (tempering):

Sunflower oil (about a tablespoon)

Cumin seeds (about a teaspoon)

Dried red chillies (one should do)

Karyapak (about ten leaves)

Asafoetida (a large pinch or about half a teaspoon; if you are using the ordinary yellow dabbas of asafoetida, you can be a bit more generous. If you are using really good quality stuff, go easy)

In large hot pan, add some oil, then fry the roughly chopped tomatoes,  a small piece of tamarind (especially if the tomatoes are not sour) green chillies and garlic.  Stir and cook, with a lid, till it softens into something like a shorwa (sauce). If the tomatoes are very watery, don’t bother with a lid.


Separately, dry roast red chillies, jeera seeds, sesame seeds (not too much), a few methi seeds. Then grind them to a rough powder.


Put the two lots of stuff above into a mixi, with a bit of salt, and grind very briefly to a rough paste. Put the chutney in a nice little dish, stir in some chopped coriander leaves.


In a little kadai (little wok or any pan), do the talimpu (tempering). When kadai is dry, add some oil, then when hot (but not smoking) put in the jeera seeds (let them crackle for a few seconds), then the dry red chillies (give them a few seconds), then the karyapak (curry leaves). After half a minute, add the ingva (asafoetida) and maybe a tiny speck of turmeric and urn off the heat immediately. Stir this around and pour it on top of the chutney, roughly half stir it in so that some of the talimpu is still visible floating on top.

Eat mixed in with fresh hot white rice and a tiny bit of ghee on top!