Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tomato Saar with Ginger (Alle Tomato Saaru)

In my household, using Ginger/ Alle as an herb for Saaru is unheard of. Saaru is a soupy broth of herbs and condiments, couples well with rice and constitutes as a light and soothing lunch and dinner. Having said that, one cannot undermine the importance of Ginger and its curative properties in Indian food. This recipe is from my Ma's collection, sourced from Kannada magazine - Taranga. Interestingly, this one is a favorite among our household. The flavour of this Saaru has a very soothing effect, hence holds good for kids as well as elderly and senior citizens in the family. I added a stash of red lentils which needed to be used and it added a good texture to the Saaru.

My Ammama - maternal granny, is an octogenarian, a true matriarch of our family, hale-o-hearty woman, however cannot eat boiled or cooked rice and needs a good mash of food before she can eat. She is on dentures, hates to wear them, rebukes them as artificial aid and like a true Konkani, loves her dose of Dalithoi, Upkari and Patrode. Funnily, she enjoys spicy and savoury food and dislikes bland food. If she dislikes what is made for lunch or dinner, she will grab a bite and stop right there. She will pompously declare that the food is no good. She jokes around by saying - Don't give me patient food when I am ok. We all oblige with laughter! Ma makes Alle Tomato Saaru for her on many occasions and she enjoys her lunch with a satiated calmness which only my Ma and Pachi's can read and comprehend. She eats a little bit and then declares with a grin that this food makes her soul happy. I like this recipe for the tenderness and nostalgic memories built around it.

~ Alle Tomato Saaru ~
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 1o-15 minutes

Source: Original recipe from Kannada magazine - Taranga

Tomato (ripe, chopped and pureed) - 2 cups
Red Lentils (washed and drained) [optional] - 1/2 cup
Ginger (grated) - 1 tbsp
Garlic (grated) - 1 tbsp
Onion (finely chopped) - 3 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/3 tsp
Green Chilli (split lengthwise) - 1

For Seasoning -
Red Chillies (split into two) - 1
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 3-4

Rinse the tomatoes and puree them in a blender. Bring this to a boil along with grated ginger and garlic. Adjust salt, add green chilli and chopped onions when semi-cooked. Add 1/2 cup of hot water if desired. Add washed red lentils at this stage. After it comes to a rolling boil, simmer with the lid on for 5-8 minutes. Once done and lentils are cooked, add coriander powder and give a good stir and turn off the flame. In a separate frying pan, heat few spoons of oil/ghee, season with mustard seeds and once they begin to pop add curry leaves and red chillies. Pour this seasoning on the Saaru and cover with a lid. Serve hot with cooked white or parboiled rice.

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