Among Indian chutneys, the Tomato Chutney has some really interesting regional variations. Across north India, they make it hot and spicy – but in Bengal and some other parts of eastern India, they add jaggery or sugar, or even raisins to make a sweet version of this chutney.
Another exciting variation comes from Bihar where the tomatoes are char-grilled as part of the preparation process. This practice of fire-roasting gives the chutney a smoky flavour that you will not find in other regional variants.
So let’s get started on our Bihari Tomato Chutney. Here are the ingredients that you will require.
Tomatoes: 2, medium-sized
Garlic (Lasun): 4 cloves
Green Chillies: 2
Onion: Half an onion
Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 1 tablespoon
Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoons
Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for preparing two servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.
Peel and wash the garlic, and cut the cloves into small pieces.
Finely chop the green chillies.
Finely chop the onion.
Finely chop the coriander leaves.
Wash and dry the tomatoes. Make sure the surface of the tomatoes is completely dry. You could leave the tomatoes out in the sun for an hour or so (that’s what they do in rural Bihar) or you could simply dry them under a fan. When the tomatoes are dry apply a thin coating of mustard oil on the tomatoes. Make a small hole in each tomato and insert the chopped garlic pieces through these holes. When this is done, keep the tomatoes aside.
Turn the flame on and arrange a wire mesh over the flame – the kind that you use for grilling or barbecuing. Place the tomatoes on the wire mesh and roast them on a High flame till they are charred slightly on all sides. Move the tomatoes around on the wire mesh to ensure even charring. When this is done, turn the flame off.
Let the tomatoes cool down. Then carefully peel the outer skin off the tomatoes; discard the skin.
In a mixing bowl take the roasted tomatoes and mash them using a fork or the back of a large spoon.
Next, add the Mustard Oil, green chillies, chopped onion, coriander leaves and salt to taste. Mix well – and you’re done!
Your traditional Bihari Tomato Chutney is now ready. You can have this with roti or paratha or rice – it tastes great with pretty much anything. There is another interesting thing about this recipe. Mustard Oil is used as an ingredient, not as a cooking medium. Moreover, it is used in its raw form and adds a warm enticing flavour that you will relish. That’s the wonder of Mustard Oil!
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