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Tomatoes, Tomatoes Everywhere; What to Do? East India Sauce!

This entry is part of a series, RdJ»

Cluster Tomatoes

Our small patch of a dozen tomato plants has gone into overdrive this week. Especially the alien cherry tomatoes that have grown to over eight feet tall. There’s only two of them in the garden, but they’re producing a quart of tasty red spheres each day. The yellow pears are slowing down for a bit, but still give a cup of ripe fruit every other day.

That’s a lot of snacking and tomato-basil salads.

The Black Krim plant yielded about five pounds of produce over a couple of days. Now it’s working to put on new flowers, as mature tomato plants do once they sense the majority of their kids have left home. So another cycle of product there can be expected in a month or so. In the meantime we’re eating big slices of Krim with nearly every meal. They’re a very tasty tomato, with the unfortunate property that they’ve got no shelf life at all. (Explains their absence in grocery stores and farmers’ markets.)

Now it’s the turn of the beefy tomatoes to make an exuberant appearance. I’ll be making sauces and canning, in a vain to keep up. Here’s one recipe I’ve been waiting to try ever since getting my copy of the Tomato Festival Cookbook. It’s called East India Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled (remember the easy way to do that?)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (or red wine)

Place a fine-sieve colander in a big bowl. Slice the tomatoes across and squeeze the seeds out, catching the juice, seeds and pulp in the colander. Press the pulp to squeeze out remaining juice, then discard seeds and pulp. Retain the juice. Chop the tomato flesh and combine with the salt in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add about a cup of retained tomato juice, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or so. Uncover and add the sliced garlic. Cook a further 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid has pretty much gone. Stir in the ginger, sugar and cayenne powder and cook, with stirring, for a minute or two.

Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Purée using a blender or food processor, then return the tomato mixture to the skillet and stir in the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until sauce thickens to a steak sauce consistency, about 10 minutes.

This smooth, cooked sauce will add both a garlic kick and a bit of heat to whatever I’m eating, and I bet I’ll be addicted to it as soon as I’ve had my first taste…

Enjoy the (Old Style Indian Red Gravy) Heat!

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