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Tomato Pickle

Prep Time - 2 days
Total Time - 1 hour
Makes -1 kg

Ingredients
1 kg (10-12 medium) tomatoes
250 ml (1 1/2 cups) sesame (til) oil
100 grams (1/2 cup) rock salt
2 tbsp (10 gms) turmeric
100 grams (1/2 cup) tamarind
80 grams (around 3/4 cup) red chili powder
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
3-4 tbsp vinegar
1/4 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarb)
2 tbsp (10 grams) Jaggery (or sugar) (optional)

Method
1. Cut tomatoes into 1 inch cubes. Add the turmeric powder & crushed rock salt to it. Mix well & keep aside for 24 hours (1 day)
2. After a day, the tomatoes release water.
3. Add the tamarind, mix well and again let it sit for a day. The tamarinds would soften up.
4. Next day, smash everything together.
5. Add the mixture little by little to the blender & blend it roughly to form a pureé.
6. Add the puree to a large bottomed pan along with the red chili powder. Mix well. Let that fry.
7. Meanwhile, dry roast fenugreek (methi) seeds and grind them to a coarse powder.
8. To another smaller pan, add 1tbsp oil and heat up. Add the mustard seeds & asafoetida (hing). Once that crackles, add it to the tomatoes on the pan.
9. Also add the remaining oil and fenugreek seeds (methi) mixture.
10. Let it cook for. Keep stirring completely, taking care of the sides. Do so every 5 or 10 minutes.
11. As the oil starts to come out, add the jaggery / sugar & mix well.
12. You'll have to keep cooking until the mixture is reduced and looks solid. It takes around 45 minutes - 1 hour.
13. Once that is done, switch off the flame. Add vinegar and sodium bicarb (baking soda) as preservatives and mix well.
14. Store in a sterilized, air tight jar.

Notes
- This pickle lasts for more than a year. Use fresh tomatoes.
- Rock salt gives the pickle a better taste. But you could substitute it for normal salt too.
- For other variations, try cumin seeds (jeera) instead of fenugreek seeds (methi)
- You don't need to refrigerate the pickle; although there's no harm in doing so. It lasts even longer
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