02 January 2010

Tomato Saar

Safiya has been politely requesting, for some time now, that I post this recipe and I'm finally getting around to it. Some background, then. Saar is a Konkani (and perhaps other languages as well) word for soup or broth. It is made in a variety of ways (and, as with a number of Sarasvat dishes, has a habit of tasting slightly in every household) and this particular Saar has been a favorite in my family for at least a few generations (my grandfather loved it). The most prominent tastes in this recipe are the sweet-sour taste of tomato and the distinct flavor of coconut milk. I should point out that it's been ages since I consulted the actual recipe for this dish - so my version may not actually be the right one.
Ingredients
4-5 tomatoes
14 oz can of light coconut milk - I think the original recipe asks for less but I like the coconut flavor
2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 fresh green chilies (feel free to add more or less depending on your tolerance)
1 tsp salt (but again, add more or less depending on your tastes)

For Tadka
8 - 12 Curry Leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil/ghee

Start by washing and boiling the tomatoes whole in enough water. As they boil tomatoes tend to split their skin and I usually take them off the stove and run cold water when the skin starts to peel off. Once a little cooler the skin peels of quite easily.

Toss the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend all of it till it's all one color. It can take a little while for the cumin seeds to completely blend so you may need to have the blender going for a while.
Pour the resulting soup into a vessel and bring it to a boil. Add some water to thin the blend - I usually add water at about 1:1. As it heats up make the tadka (heat the oil or ghee for a minute or so then add mustard seeds, once they start to pop add the curry leaves and heat for a further few seconds) and carefully mix it in the soup. It's a good idea to let it all simmer for a little while once the tadka is added until the tomatoes taste cooked.
The saar goes well with rice (though it may need a little extra salt when mixed in) and is also a great warm drink just by itself.
Variations: It might be a good idea to experiment a little with the sweet and sour tastes in saar - I have often added sugar or tamarind to balance some flavors.

2 comments:

Mekhala said...

tried this for lunch today, Prasad! Awesome!!!

Prithi said...

Sounds very interesting.. definitely going to try this one out.
Prithi