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.
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.


Mekhala said...

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

Prithi said...

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