Home Base and Tomato Pickle

Hello again to all my friends out there in blog land! Despite the fact that traveling was lots of fun, it’s nice to be back again at home base.

fresh ripe tomatoes:

Before I commence serialising my trip here on my blog, here’s a recent correspondence I had with a boy I saw briefly in Mayapur, West Bengal a couple weeks ago.

Andro from Mayapur, West Bengal wrote:

Hare Krsna dear Kurma, My name is Andro (from Croatia) and I am writing from Mayapur Vidyapitha Gurukula(school). I just joined a few months ago. I also saw you in the temple here about a week ago, but at that time I didn’t have the question which I am now going to ask you.

The situation is like this: we have a lot of tomatoes growing at our school vegie garden, and one of the teachers suggested that we make “Malini’s Tomato Pickle” from your book; but since I left all of your cookbooks back home I would like to humbly ask you if you could send me that recipe. Thank you very much!

My reply:

Hare Krishna, Andro! Thanks for your letter. It was wonderful to be in Mayapur again, albeit only for a week. Here’s that recipe. You will need to freeze it if you make a huge amount, or eat it within two weeks. The good thing about this pickle is that it reduces down enormously, so it can transform a large amount of tomatoes into a fairly compact and delicious condiment. Remember: do not burn the fenugreek or else the pickle will be bitter.


This delicious spicy pickle contains no sugar. It keeps in a well-sealed jar in a refrigerator for two weeks.

YIELD: 3 cups of pickle.

2.5kg ripe tomatoes (they should not be too soft),
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/4 cup hot water and squeezed to extract all the pulp,
2.5 tablespoons minced fresh ginger,
2.5 tablespoons minced fresh chili,
3 teaspoons salt,
2 teaspoons turmeric,
1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder,

The extra seasoning:

3/4 cup sesame oil (not the roasted Chinese variety),
3 teaspoons mustard seeds,
6 large dried red chilies, broken,
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds,
1/2 teaspoon yellow asafetida powder,
2 teaspoons dry-roasted fenugreek seeds, powdered,

Plunge the whole washed tomatoes into a large saucepan of boiling water. Leave for a few minutes until the skins start to blister. Remove the tomatoes, peel them and chop them coarsely.

Place the tomatoes in a heavy 5-litre/quart saucepan over moderate to high heat along with the tamarind, ginger, chili, salt, turmeric and yellow asafetida powder. Allow the mixture to boil, and, stirring often, cook for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and reduced.

Prepare the seasonings as follows: In another smaller pan, heat the sesame oil over moderate heat. When hot, sprinkle in the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the chilies and fenugreek. When the fenugreek darkens slightly, sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder and quickly pour the contents of the pan into the tomatoes.

Cook the tomato pickle for a further 15-20 minutes, or until it becomes a thick paste that gives off its oil. Finally stir in the dry roasted fenugreek powder. Cool the pickle and pack it into a sterilised jar.

Posted by Kurma on 8/4/10; 8:20:25 AM

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