Tuesday, 2 August 2016




          Nearly all Mangalorean Konkani people are used to having fragrant tomata saru with rice as the first course in every patravali (large plate of leaves stitched together and dried) meal in temples. Now, alas, the quaint patravalis have disappeared in most places giving way to durable steel plates or trays.

          Still, highly appetizing, mouthwatering tomata saru is served on steaming hot piles of raw rice today preceded by ringing shouts of ‘saru! saru!’. It is indeed a sight to see the devotees gulping down mouthful after mouthful, oblivious of everything else.

This simple, watery curry is adored so much because the very aroma which spreads around the place as it boils tantalizes you in expectation of a mesmerizing feast. Do cook and enjoy!


     1)    Tomato – 175 gm.
     2)    Grated coconut – 50 gm.
     3)    Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 75 gm.
     4)    Coriander seeds – 5 gm.
     5)    Urad dal (split black gram lentils) – 5 gm.
     6)    Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 gm.
     7)    Black pepper corns – 1 gm.
     8)    Dry hot red chilies – 7 gm.
     9)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     10)    Tamarind – 25 gm.
     11)    Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
     12)    Salt – 8 gm.
     13)    Water – 1250 ml.
     14)    Coriander leaves – 1 sprig (or culantro (Mexican coriander / eryngium foetidum) leaf – 1 No.)
     15)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     16)   Cooking oil – 2 teaspoons
     17)    Curry leaves – 1 sprig

To prepare:

          Put the grated coconut, the coriander seeds, the urad dal, the cumin seeds, the black pepper corns and the dry hot red chilies into a non-stick pan. Set on high heat. Stir continuously till the grated coconut turns a light brown. Switch off the heat and set aside.

          Put the tamarind in a small vessel and pour in 250 ml. of hot water. Let it soak for a while. In the meantime, cut the tomatoes roughly to chunks and set aside. Chop the coriander or culantro leaves finely and set aside.

Put the roasted masala ingredients into your food processor. Pour in 250 ml. of water and grind to fine paste. Squeeze the tamarind nicely with your fingers. Strain and collect the juice.

To cook:

          Pour the tamarind juice into a curry vessel. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and set on high heat. As it comes to a boil, put in the jaggery, turn down the heat and cover partially with a lid. Let it cook for 5 minutes.

Now open the lid and tip in the ground paste, the turmeric powder and the salt. Turn up the heat and pour in the remaining water (750 ml.).  As it starts to boil nicely again, tip in the asafoetida powder and the chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the heat and cover with the lid.

          Set a small pan on low heat. Tip in the cooking oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, pull the curry leaves off their sprig and throw them in. Stir once, switch off the heat and empty the contents of the pan into the curry vessel.

          Your delicious tomata saru is now ready to serve. Serve with plenty of hot, soft raw rice and fried papads. No matter how much you eat, you will have the feeling of a light stomach and excellent digestion.


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