Simple Desi Recipes Using Your Garden’s Bounty

Raw Green Tomato Chutney

Dig-In Meals – A column highlighting Indian spices in recipes that take traditional Indian food and add a western twist!

If you grow tomatoes, you will probably be swamped with them by the end of summer, our late summer kitchen garden is still producing a bounty of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. I use these fresh tomatoes in sauces and salsas, and some I chop and freeze in small portions. But I wanted to find some creative ways to use the giant piles that my husband kept bringing in and displaying proudly on the kitchen counter.

Feeling a bit desperate with this daily bounty, I reached out to Malathy Chandrasekhar, who I met through a Facebook food group. Her recipes and presentation had always inspired me with her emphasis on the joys of pure, unadulterated, and simple living and eating. An IT professional, she has had a non-linear path to starting her website, Healthy Indian.

Much as I love all her recipes, the deep summer flavors and rich colors in these three are my favorite.  

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Just as delicious, and less expensive than store-bought sundried tomatoes, these dehydrated tomatoes are perfect for using in dishes where you really want that wonderful tomato flavor to shine through. She has used a dehydrator, but I dehydrated them in my oven.

Oven-baked Dehydrated Tomatoes

Just as delicious, and less expensive than store-bought sundried tomatoes, these dehydrated tomatoes are perfect for using in dishes where you really want that wonderful tomato flavor to shine through. She has used a dehydrator, but I dehydrated them in my oven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Cups Tomato – Ripe and firm
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. I don’t remove the seeds, but that’s optional. Drain the excess juice and use the tomato juice in your smoothie or lunch prep.
  2. Arrange tomato slices on the dehydrator racks making sure there is at least 1″ room between the slices for adequate airflow. Use a salt grinder to lightly sprinkle salt over the pieces. Watch the salt, and make sure don’t overdo it. Dehydrate for 6 hours. 
  3. Test if the slices are done. They need to feel firm and pliable/bendable to the touch. Make sure they don’t turn crispy and snap. If you dehydrate the tomatoes for too long, they become tough and leathery.  On the flip side, if you don’t dry long enough, they will become moldy quickly.
  4. If larger slices are still raw, you can remove the ones that are done and turn on the dehydrator for another hour.

STORAGE

  1. Store the dehydrated tomatoes in a clean, dry glass bottle with a tight lid as is. Store in the refrigerator for 6-8 months. Check regularly to make sure there is no mold (mold forms if there is some moisture left).
  2. Add the dehydrated tomatoes to a clean, dry glass bottle. Fill up to 3/4 volume. Add high-quality olive oil to the bottle until all the tomatoes are fully immersed (they will mold if not fully immersed). Store in refrigerator for 1 year or more. The oil will congeal in the fridge but will clear out in several minutes after the bottle is moved to room temperature.

Raw Green Tomato Chutney

This fresh chutney brings a wonderful explosion of flavors. Made with raw, green tomatoes, roasted sesame seeds, garlic, and a few other simple ingredients. Smear on sandwiches, burgers, or tacos. Goes great with idli, dosa, vada, and grain-based dishes. 

Raw Green Tomato Chutney

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Cups Tomato – Raw, Green. Chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic – Chopped
  • 2 Green Chili Pepper – Or to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt – Or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds

TEMPERING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chana Dal
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Urad Dal
  • 2 Dry Red Chili
  • 10 Curry Leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roughly chop raw/green tomatoes into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
  2. In a thick-bottomed pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add green chili (some of my home-grown chili have turned red!) and garlic. Sauté until they brown slightly. 
  3. Add chopped raw tomatoes, salt, and turmeric powder. Mix well. If your tomatoes are not sour, you may need to add some tamarind juice. 
  4. Close the lid and allow the tomatoes to soften – about 3-4 minutes. Open the lid a couple of times and stir. 
  5. In the meantime, dry roast sesame seeds on medium flame until they are slightly browned. 
  6. Using a coffee grinder powder the sesame seeds. You can store this powder in the fridge for later use as well. 
  7. Pulse the cooked tomatoes and sesame powder until the chutney is a smooth consistency. Look up pairing suggestions in the write-up or Notes. 

TEMPERING INSTRUCTIONS

In a small pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida (hing). Splutter mustard seeds. Add chana dal, urad dal, dry red chili, and curry leaves. Sauté for 30 seconds and pour over the chutney. 

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill

A wonderfully cooling soup for hot summers or for any time you desire to have a light meal. 

Chilled Cucumber Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Clove Garlic – Minced
  • 1.5 Cups Cucumber – Diced to Medium
  • 1/2 Cup Cucumber – Diced Fine – For Garnish
  • 1 Cup Dill Leaves – De-Stemmed. Save 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1/2 Cup Spring Onions – Chopped
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt – Or Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Yogurt – Grass-Fed and Organic; Substitute for Full Fat Coconut Milk for Vegans

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mince garlic and set aside for about 10 minutes. Cut the ends off the cucumber and dice them into 2″ pieces. No need to peel if it is organic. Chop the green portions of the spring onions.
  2. Add garlic, 1.5 cups of cucumber, 3/4 cup dill leaves, spring onions, and salt into a high-speed blender and puree for 1-2 minutes. Add a little yogurt or coconut milk if the consistency is too thick for the blender. 
  3. Pour soup into the serving dish. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup yogurt or coconut milk and 1/4 cup finely minced dill leaves as garnish. Chill soup for 1 hour (optional) before serving.

Mona Shah is a multi-platform storyteller with expertise in digital communications, social media strategy, and content curation for Twitter and LinkedIn for C-suite executives. A journalist and editor, her experience spans television, cable news, and magazines. An avid traveler and foodie, she loves artisan food and finding hidden gems: restaurants, recipes, destinations. She can be reached at: [email protected]


 

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