T'is the season to repent - Tomato Saar

After the endless Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year partying, the season to be jolly is indeed over (sigh). Now is the season to look at the scale, gasp, make a new year resolution and try against all odds to keep it (I will not, positively NOT have that chocolate brownie). Sigh indeed! To pacify my guilt pangs, I decided to make a simple, healthy dinner.

Tomato Saar is my paternal grandmother's recipe (with my nod to today's need for meals in a jiffy). It is a staple of the Saraswat cuisine of Karwar - a land of gorgeous beaches, swaying coconut trees and the most delicous seafood. Karwari cuisine uniquely incorporates Southern and Western influences due to its proximity to Karnataka and Goa/ Maharashtra. This saar for instance is very similar to the rasam prepared in Southern India. There are several versions of this saar - with red gram (toor), horse gram (kulith) and even cilantro.

I make a slight variation by adding a teaspoon of peppercorns to give it a truly fiery taste. This stuff can clear you up!


TOMATO SAAR (Spicy Tomato Soup)
(serves 2)
Roast and then powder -
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 fenugreek (methi) seeds
4 peppercorns
1-2 dry red chilli
Base -
2 medium size tomatoes
1 tsp tamarind pulp
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
Tempering -
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
Garnish -
chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves (optional)

Pierce the tomatoes with a fork. Put them in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes (or drop tomatoes in boiling water and cook until skin peels).

Let cool, then peel skins and discard. Mash to a coarse puree. Add 1 1/2 cups of water (adjust to desired consistency), tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.

In a pan heat oil and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida. Add tomato puree and saar powder. Stir. Adjust seasoning.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice and upkari.

* Other saars - cilantro and kokum

Tags: saaru rasam methi seeds indian soup


Blogger Meena said...

Hi winie!

First time on your blog. like this recipe - i love anythin gwith tomatoes! Will definitely try it out.

Do check out my food blog and join in on the Rasoi event!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

oooh I love tomato saar! Thanks for sharing your recipe...and happy blogging!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hey Meena and Nupur, yep tomato saar is one great comfort food. And a good way to get rid of several tomatoes!!

11:49 AM  
Blogger GuNs said...


I just hit a link to your blog on when I searched for Karwar.

Karwar is my native place and I think its got the coolest beaches in India. Have you been to all the beaches there? Do you know that if you get to Devbagh beach, you actually stand and see a beach opposite to you? Its actually thee 2 opposing river banks but being so close to the sea, they look like beaches.

Check out my blog when you get time. Dont forget to leave your comments !!


12:21 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Hi Guns,
Yes of course I have been to Devbagh beach. Paradise on earth! I don't remember a single childhood vacation not spent close to a beach, since we either went to Karwar/ Goa or my maternal nativeplace - Vengurla (Malwan coast). Stay tuned as I am going to post some staple Karwari dishes!

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saraswat cuisine!Thats the first time I am hearing that word! Indian cuisine mesmirises me.Each region has it entirely different.
Your blog looks really intresting since I am learning a lot of new things.

11:54 AM  
Blogger MAJ K said...

Here is another blog post about Rasam:

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I tried Tomato Saar...ho it came out very well...Thanks for such a mouth watering recipe


11:22 AM  

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