Tomato curry is so close to my heart not because I’m crazy about it but this is the revered curry of my hubby. At any given day, you give him this simple earthy curry, he will be the most happiest person in this world. For him, this curry hold strings of memories attached to his childhood and adolescence. He craves for this curry often.
He becomes so nostalgic when rain starts pouring down. Rains, smell of the earth, candle lit light and, with smell of this tomato curry being made on a kerosene stove, he just transgress to childhood and becomes elated.
I’m sure you might be thinking about the candle light. Hehehehe, in India during the seventies, if you receive a heavy rainfall, the electricity is sure to get tripped and we are forced to remain under candle lights for long hours. Thats where the candle lights come in this story.
Coming to tomatoes, there are many interesting facts about this edible veggie… Vegetable??? Is tomato a vegetable or a fruit? An interesting aspect of tomato history is the classic debate: Is the Tomato a Fruit or Vegetable? I guess that depends on whom you are asking. By definition, a fruit is the edible plant structure of a mature ovary of a flowering plant, usually eaten raw; some are sweet like apples, but the ones that are not sweet such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. are commonly called vegetables. Botanists claim that a fruit is any fleshy material that covers a seed or seeds where as a horticulturists point of view would pose that the tomato is a vegetable plant. Until the late 1800’s the tomato was classified as a fruit to avoid taxation, but this was changed after a Supreme Court ruling that the tomato is a vegetable and should be taxed accordingly.
The Tomato History has origins traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 A.D; therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas. It was not until around the 16th century that Europeans were introduced to this fruit when the early explorers set sail to discover new lands. Throughout Southern Europe, the tomato was quickly accepted into the kitchen, yet as it moved north, more resistance was apparent. The British, for example, admired the tomato for its beauty, but believe that it was poisonous, as its appearance was similar to that of the wolf peach.
Rich people in that time used flatware made of pewter, which has a high-lead content. Foods high in acid, like tomatoes, would cause the lead to leech out into the food, resulting in lead poisoning and death. Poor people, who ate off of plates made of wood, did not have that problem, and hence did not have an aversion to tomatoes. This is essentially the reason why tomatoes were only eaten by poor people until the 1800’s, especially Italians.
What changed in the 1800’s? First, and most significantly, was the mass immigration from Europe to America and the traditional blending of cultures. Many Italian-Americans ate tomatoes and brought that food with them. But also, and perhaps equally as important, was the invention of pizza. There is no pizza without tomato sauce, and pizza was invented around Naples in the late 1880’s. The story goes that it was created by one restaurateur in Naples to celebrate the visit of Queen Margarite, the first Italian monarch since Napoleon conquered Italy. The restaurateur made the pizza from three ingredients that represented the colors of the new Italian flag: red, white, and green. The red is the tomato sauce, the white was the mozzarella cheese, and the green was the basil topping. Hence, Pizza Margarite was born, and is still the standard for pizza. And what could have led more to the popularity of the tomato than pizza!”
It was not regarded as a kitchen vegetable until the times preceding The Civil War Period in the United States. From this point forward,tomatoes have become a staple item in the kitchen throughout the world. Each area of the world has its own tomato history and how it is used in everyday dining. It appears though that tomatoes have had the largest impact on American eating habits, as they are responsible for enjoying over 12 million tons of tomatoes each year.
When it is all said and done, the history of the tomato has classified as a poisonous beautiful plant, a tax-avoiding fruit, and a taxable vegetable. Nonetheless, the tomato is the most popular vegetable in America and enjoyed by millions all over the world. We as a family finds a way to add tomatoes as much as possible in any available diet.
There are many versions of tomato curry and roast in different parts of India. This version is our home version to which I have given a twist. I’ve added tomato ketchup for balancing of flavors. One can add half a cup of water if your prefer more loose gravy. This is one of the beautiful dishes which I have tasted with basic ingredients. So get out and try this today itself.
Heat a pan with 2 tablespoon coconut oil. Add the onions, chilies and curry leaves. Saute till it slightly gets discolored or brown.
Add the powders and fry till aromatic.
Pop in the tomatoes and cook till pulpy. At this stage if you want a loose gravy add half cup water and simmer.
Add salt and ketchup. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped coriander, mix up.
Serve hot with rice.