Tee Tii Too Tum, do I smell tomatoes, hun?!
With new year celebrations done and dusted and everybody is now settled back at school and work, household routines must have also reached a certain balance.
The new year heralds a start of a fresh chapter in our life book, new stories, new disasters, new beginnings, new endings – everything remains the same yet with a difference. Do you know what I mean?
It took me some time to think about a topic to write about this time. But then, I was making tomato soup the other day for lunch and I got tempted into writing about tomatoes for 2021’s first article.
First of all, is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? When I looked this up on Google I found it complicated. In simple terms, tomatoes are fruits that are considered as vegetables, so let us leave it at that.
Tomatoes come in different colours, not just red. They can be purple, pink, yellow black and white. We get to see red and yellow more often in our country.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene; which is an antioxidant that is good for the heart and helps fight against certain cancers. They are packed with vitamins A and C as well as calcium and potassium.
One of the most common item made using tomatoes is tomato ketchup. There are such a variety of tomato ketchup brands available in the market, each with its own unique taste and texture. It is not that difficult to make at home either. Especially if you and / or your children tend to eat anything and everything with tomato ketchup I would say it would be much healthier to make your own home made version of ketchup to ensure whatever your kids have is healthy and hygienic.
To make your own ketchup at home; you will need a few grated and seived tomatoes, sugar or to make it healthier you can use honey or jaggery, vinegar, salt, garlic powder and water. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk it all together until the mixture is smooth. Once it comes to a boil, let it simmer for a while until it reaches the desired thickness while stirring often. Once done, let it cool. Store in a refrigerator. This ketchup can keep for like ten days. It is better to make it little so it finishes faster and you can make a fresh batch again.
Tomato chutney locally and more popularly known as chachandu is also a very much loved dish especially for sururu lovers. Though the way they make it taste despite using the same ingredients, I can never match it. However, that does not stop me as it is very simple to make and it makes a very
complementing condiment to muhogos, chips mayai, plain chips, samosas and also go well with many
types of chicken and lentil curries.
Take around four tomatoes. Cook them in water, add pili pili mbuzi to it, it adds to the flavour so you
can add just one if you do not want to make the chutney hot, or add a few more if you want it spicy, add
salt and lemon to taste. Let it boil and simmer until the tomatoes go soft and can easily be mashed using
the back of your spoon.
Alternately you can mix all the raw ingredients into the blender, once mixed, strain and then give it a
boil. Add only enough water to mix the ingredients well so as to have a thick chutney.
I personally prefer the first version.
Tomatoes are very easy to grow. My first batch of tomatoes grew in a pot out in the balcony. All I did
was cut up the tomatoes in slices and lay them on the soil in the pot. I watered it daily in the mornings
and voila! In a couple of months’ time I had my own tomatoes growing in my little “pot garden” albeit
small ones. I believe you can have the bigger tomatoes grown using seeds available in the market but I
have never given it a try myself.
Have you ever served sliced fried tomatoes? They are heavenly, especially when had for breakfast;
together with sausages and eggs!
Cut thick slices of tomatoes. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the tomato slices on medium heat for
about a minute on each side. Let them cook through but not too much that they get all soft and mushy.
Before turning the tomato slices, sprinkle over salt, garlic powder or freshly crushed garlic and pepper.
You could also add a dash of fresh herbs. Mix well so they are all evenly coated. Fried tomato slices are
ready to be served and had!
There is ever so much you can make and do with tomatoes. I will unfortunately have to end here but
would love to hear your own unique recipes using tomatoes and if you use tomatoes for a beauty
regime please do share!