Thursday, April 03, 2008

Green Tomato Rassa

hirvyaa tomatochi bhaaji

Green tomatoes are something I have not seen in supermarkets here, and only rarely in farmers markets, so the only time I have had access to a lot of green tomatoes was when I had planted tomatoes one year and got a bumper crop all throughout summer. While I let most of the tomatoes ripen on the vines, occasionally some of the green ones fell to the ground, and once, an entire branch full of them fell down because of the weight.

Green Tomatoes

Red ripe tomatoes have started showing up at our markets in the last couple of weeks, and one of the farmers even had a small basket of green tomatoes. I grabbed a bunch right away. I didn't even have to think about what I would do with them - it had to be the green tomato rassa style bhaji that was one of my absolute favorites while growing up. Whenever it was made at home, I ate more than usual.

I always use my mother's recipe for this, but naturally, when I make it, it only comes close, and doesn't taste exactly the same. This simple homey side dish is best served with good polis, or thin soft rotis, brushed with a touch of ghee if you like.

Green Tomato Rassa bhaji

Green Tomato Rassa Bhaji


6 medium sized green tomatoes
1-2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar or jaggery
1 teaspoon goda masala
1 Tablespoon crushed peanuts
1 Tablespoon freshly grated coconut (optional)
2-4 Tablespoons chopped cilantro


Core the tomatoes and chop them into roughly 1 inch sized pieces.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, reduce the heat, add the asafoetida and turmeric. Add the tomatoes, and stir around for a minute or two. Add chili powder and salt. Bring the heat back up, add about a cup (or more as required) of water, and when it comes to a boil, turn the heat down again, and let it simmer until the tomatoes are well cooked and soft but not falling apart. You can place a lid on it, partially, to speed up the cooking.

Since this is a rassa style bhaji, a fair amount of gravy is desirable, which means you can add more water if it gets too thick or too dry.

Finally, add the rest of the ingredients, and let it cook for just a few minutes more until the rassa starts to thicken. After the heat is turned off, let it sit for a few more minutes before serving. This really helps all the flavors to come together.


Curry leaves can be added just before the tomatoes are added. This wasn't in the original family recipe, but I love the flavor it adds.

Coconut is optional, I usually don't add it.


bee said...

we get loads of these each summer. lovely recipe. have you tried fried green tomatoes with a cornmeal crust? yummy.

Nandita said...

We do get green tomatoes in the markets here, but I dont buy them often..made a tomato thokku once with a mix of red and green tomatoes...this one sounds interesting! are the greens ones more tart than red tomatoes?

Kalyn said...

Love the sound of this, I bet it's delicious!

Anonymous said...

i've always hand the chutney made from green tomatoes...looks good...

Saswati said...

Et thats a nice recipe though i have never tried the green ones.Sounds and looks tasty:)

SMN said...

I love this green tomato especially with the white coconut sauce with capsicum but i hardly get it here:(. this is a very nice recipe..

sra said...

I'll try this the next time I see some!

Richa said...

lovely recipe!
am waiting for our farmers mrkt to open up, 3 more weeks to go.....:)

evolvingtastes said...

bee, you are a dedicated gardener, I am way too lazy. I have wanted to make fried green tomatoes a lot, because I have heard so much about them, but have never had enough green tomatoes to make anything other than this favorite rassa.

Nandita, I have not tried raw green tomatoes, but when cooked, they are definitely slightly more tart than red - which is why adding the bit of jaggery helps to balance the flavor. By thokku, you mean a cooked chutney, right? That would taste really good too!

Kalyn, hello! And thank you.

arundati, a relative once gave me a recipe for green tomato chutney which was very delicious. Welcome to my blog, btw.

Saswati, thanks.

SMN, mmm, the combination with capsicum and coconut milk just sounds lovvvvely! Welcome to my blog too.

sra, I envy you for being able to find green tomatoes so easily - not complaining though, now that strawberry season is almost starting too.

Richa, thanks! Farmers markets opening means your weather would be getting nicer too - yaay!

Cynthia said...

You must give Bee's suggest a try! And if you eat it with a sweet rather than savoury pickle - so good! The flavours contrast and balance so well.

I made a dish similar to the one you have here from a recipe I saw on Indira's blog. I was quite a treat. I eat it with dhal and rice.

Vaishali said...

Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for the green tomatoes recipe. I can imagine how wonderful it would be with the addition of goda masala.

musical said...

How i wish i could get some green tomatoes! Your post gave me a chance to atleast dream about it :)

I do get very firm regular tomatoes, though, around here-so i'll try it with those and have my fill :).

Priyanka said...

ET, i have the same recipe on my blog too. It tastes just heavenly, isnt it? Although i make it without peanuts and coconut- the rest of the ingredients and recipe is the same.

evolvingtastes said...

Cynthia, if I see green tomatoes again, I definitely will! I have seen Tyler's recipe on your blog, and it is on my mind. :-)

Vaishali, thanks much. Yup, goda masala is the main spice flavor here.

musical, you can also try making the same rassa with tomatillos for something fairly similar. I have tried it, it works quite well.

Priyanka, I just saw it - lovely. I like your addition of green chilies. Are you able to find green tomatoes easily?

sra said...

No, ET, I find them v rarely, and I'm always at a loss to know what to do with them.

evolvingtastes said...

ah, I see. Well now you know. :-) Or at least you have some ideas.

प्रिया said...

I made this today minus the coconut, and added curry leaves to the phodani. Tasted heavenly with hot chapatis! :)Quick, simple and flavorful - I am going to make it more often now.

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