Tomato Oil Pickle (Tamatar Kasundi)

(Photo by phxpma/Flickr)


2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups malt vinegar
250 g/8 oz fresh ginger
20 large cloves garlic, peeled
30 fresh chillies, red or green
2.5 kg/5 lb firm ripe tomatoes
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
6 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chilli powder or to taste
375 g/12 oz/1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt or to taste


Soak mustard seeds overnight in the vinegar. Grind to a purée using an electric blender. Add roughly chopped ginger and garlic and blend until smooth. Halve chillies lengthways. Remove seeds if liked. Blanch tomatoes briefly in boiling water, peel, halve and gently squeeze out most of the seeds. Dice the flesh of the tomatoes.

In a large, non-aluminium pan heat the oil until smoking. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly so dry spices will cook without burning. Stir in ground turmeric, cumin and chilli powder. Add tomatoes, chillies, blended mixture, sugar and salt. Simmer until tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and oil starts to float on top. Taste and add more salt if required. Put into clean, dry bottles heated in the oven to sterilise. Cover with non-metallic lids and allow to mature for a week before using. Keeps well.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)