Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tomato Saar

Comfort food........food that gives a sense of emotional satisfaction. It means different things to different people - after all, comfort food choices are a complex mix of culture, memories and other food associations- and so, what is comfort food to someone might be an absolute no - no to another. Nevertheless, no matter what our individual choice, we are all familiar with that sense of satisfaction, that sense of well being that comfort food gives.

So what exactly is this 'comfort food'? And why, after tucking into some 'comfort food' do we feel so good - a feeling that even the best of gourmet food can't bring?

Comfort food, it seems, alleviates stress, fatigue, depression, the general feeling of 'blues' - in other words, all negative states by minds by triggering certain chemicals in the brain that ultimately lead to the 'feel good' state of mind.

So what is my comfort food? Well, different things at different times - sometimes I crave chicken soup, at other times, nothing else but khichdi kadhi will do; sometimes, I yearn for some cheese and there are times when only dark chocolate is what I am after.

But my ultimate comfort food is Tomato Saar. Piping hot tomato saar, poured into a bowl, my hands cupping the hot bowl and the warmth seems to course through my hands all through my body. I could ask for nothing more, it satiates me so completely and yet leaves me craving for more!!

Tell me, what is your comfort food?




Tomato Saar

Ingredients:

Tomatoes - 1/2 kilo
Onion - 1, chopped
Ginger - 1 tbsp, grated
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 5
cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Crushed peppercorn - 1 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
curry leaves - 8-10
Coriander leaves - 1 tsp finely chopped + some more for garnishing
Coconut milk - 75 ml
Salt and sugar - to taste
Oil
Ghee - 1 tsp (optional)

Method:

Cut the tomatoes into half and scoop out the seeds. Then, boil them in a pan of water (the water should just about cover the tomatoes) with a tsp. of sugar till they are soft. Peel off the skins and puree the tomatoes in a blender.

Heat oil, add the cinnamon and the cloves, followed by the onions. Saute till the onions take on a slight pink hue.

Then, add the grated ginger and the cumin seeds and stir for half a minute.

Slowly, add the tomatoe puree to the pan (make sure that you lower the flame to the lowest, else the puree will splutter) and add the crushed peppercorn, red chilli powder, salt, sugar and the curry leaves and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Now add the coconut milk (this gives the saar a lovely salmon colour) and bring to a boil - I use packaged coconut milk, if you use home-made coconut milk, then you might need to increase the quantity.

Add in the chopped corainder and the ghee.
(the ghee is optional, but there is no denying the lovely taste it gives the saar)

I serve this with piping hot rice and some veggies such as French beans or tindli or snake gourd . But most of the times, I like to sip it just like that. Tangy, sweet and spicy, all at once, all in one sip, it is an awesome explosion of flavours.


This, alongwith Fettucine with Prawns in Creamy Coconut Sauce is my entry to Let's Go Nuts: Coconuts being hosted by PJ this month.



22 comments:

  1. Never made this before, looks delicious, will try sometime :)

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  2. u wont believe this..i havent made tomato saar after coming to US..today is the day i guess
    will try ur recipe!!!

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  3. This is definitely comfort food...perfect for a cold evening. Looks delicious.

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  4. never made this version of tomato saar .. lery temptingooks v

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  5. Looks delicious. Adding Coconut milk should have given it whole new taste and aroma. Can imagine how it would have tasted from the photo. Nice one.

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  6. Hey nice one ! Looks delicious !

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  7. Looks delicious and a real comfort dear..everyone needs something to comfort and me always go for kanji (rice soup)..

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  8. Looks delicious!! yumm yumm!!!

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  9. Never had this before. Looks good though. U know what? My sis just moved to Singapore last week.

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  10. Tomato saar looks delicious..addition of cinnamon and cloves is new to me:)

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  11. I love tomato saar too, just posted one a few days back...My version is slightly different...love it with hot rice...

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  12. coconut milk,cloves,chinnamon.....etc etc.so many into simple tomato saaru..
    need to try this version as mine is different from urs..

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  13. Hey AD,
    U got me thinking about the term 'comfort food' dearie :) that was something I had'nt thought about as deeply...Hmmm...my comfort food is dali thoy, rice and papad, pickle :)
    My version of tomato saar is completely different, shall post it sometime :) it's more simpler than ur recipe, this one sounds damn gud with coconut milk n all. Thanks
    Happy weekend

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  14. wow..This is a new prep to me Aqua..Looks really comforting..my comfort food is hot rice,rasam n egg omlette..slurpp..:D

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  15. sounds like a flavorful soup,my maami makes similar one to this, refreshing!

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  16. I love saar with accompanied with rice......it looks really refreshing

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  17. hi AD,
    Please collect ur award from by blog :)

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  18. Delicious comfort dish, feel like having rite now, one of my mom's special:)

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  19. Vethal Kuzhambu with curd rice. I can eat it 24/7 - joy or depression

    I'm so going to try this Saaru sometime!

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  20. dint know coconut milk is added to tomato saar... i always thot of it like an indian tomato soup! :)

    i dont really have a comfort food... it depends greatly on the mood n the situation.. sometimes no food is the policy!

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