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Green Tomato Masiyal
India, South - Thakkali Kai Masiyal
| 4 w/rice
This delicious dish would be a first course with rice in southern India,
but is likely to be a main dish with rice in North America. A Masiyal
is very similar to a Sambar, except the vegetables are mashed. Thakkali
is Tomato in Tamil, and Kai is "raw", but really means unripe. This
recipe is easy to make - don't let all those notes frighten you, they're
just stuff you should know before starting.
Green Tomatoes (1)
Toor Dal (2)
Tamarind Paste (3)
Green Chili (4)
Mustard seeds (5)
Urad Dal (6)
Red Chili, dry (8)
Curry Leaves (9)
Sambar Powder (10)
Chili Powder (11)
PREP - (1 hr - 25 min work)
RUN - (35 min)
- Cut GREEN TOMATOES into pieces less than 1/2 inch on a
- Wash TOOR DAL in several changes of water. Put in a sauce
pan with 2 cups Water and bring to a boil uncovered (to
prevent it from foaming over) and simmer covered until tender and
starting to break up (45 minutes or more). See
Note-12 on Cooking Toor Dal.
- Chop TAMARIND PASTE and soak in 2 cups freshly boiled water
for 1/2 hour or more. Strain through a wire strainer, retaining
the liquid and forcing the paste through the strainer with a wooden
spoon. Discard the fiber. Be sure to scrape the outside of the
strainer, as much will be stuck there.
- Chop GREEN CHILI fine.
- Mix together all Tempering items.
- Mix together all Powders items.
- Chop Cilantro small for Garnish.
- In a spacious sauté pan (3-1/2 qt), coverable wok or kadhai,
heat Oil quite hot. Stir in Tempering mix and let it
sputter for just 20 seconds, then stir in Chili, followed
immediately by Tomatoes. Fry until the tomato liquid is at
- Turn heat to low. Cover tightly and sweat the Tomatoes, stirring
now and then, for about 20 minutes. Mash them some every time
you stir. I use a wooden pestle.
- Stir in Powders mix and fry stirring for a couple of
- Stir in Tamarind liquid and bring to a boil. Cover tightly
and simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in cooked Toor Dal and simmer another 5 minutes.
Adjust liquid with boiling water if needed, this dish should be
- Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro. Accompany with Roti
or long grain rice (south Indian or Thai Jasmine).
- Green Tomatoes: These are unripe
regular tomatoes, not "Mexican Green Tomatoes" (Tomatillo) which are
not actually tomatoes. The tomatoes should be solid green or with a
slight white or pink blush. Riper tomatoes can be used, but must be
very firm. For details see our
- Toor Dal: This is peeled and split
Pigeon Peas, also called Tuvar Dal and Red Gram (for the flowers).
For a lighter flavor you could use Moong Dal- peeled and split
Mung Beans, and some recipes call for half of each. Both these are
available at any market serving an Indian community. See
Note-12 for cooking details.
- Tamarind Paste: This comes in several
forms. This recipe uses paste, but if you wish to use concentrate, use
the same amount. For details see our
- Green Chili: The hot green Jwala
chilis used in India are not much available even here in Los Angeles,
so we use Serranos. One, combined with the Chili Powder, will make
this dish moderately hot by Southern California standards. For details
see our Indian Chilis page.
- Mustard Seeds: In India black
mustard seeds are always used, but yellow will work.
- Urad Dal: This tiny white dal is
split and peeled urad beans (black gram). It is easily available in
any market serving an Indian community. If you don't have it, leaving
it out will not make a lot of difference.
- Asafoetida - Hing: This is the resin
of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat
onions or garlic, but is also often combined with onions.
Caution: there are two forms: Pure Hing (asafoetida beads or
ground) and the more common "Hing Powder". The "powder" is heavily
cut with rice flour. The amount given here is for pure asafoetida.
Use about 3 times as much if what you have is the "powder" form.
For details see our Asafoetida
- Red Chili: In India, Dahni chilis
would be used, which are essentially the same as our Thai Chilis, but
the common Japones could also be used. For details see our
- Curry Leaves: These are essential for
the flavors of southern India, but if you don't have them, leave them
out - there is no acceptable substitute. For details see our
Curry Leaf page.
- Sambar Powder: This is an important
masala in southern India. It can be purchased, but is better made at
home. Here is our Sambar Powder
- Chili Powder I use Khandela or
Reshampatti, which makes this dish fairly hot by Southern California
standards. If in doubt, use Kashmir powder. For details see our
Indian Chilis page.
- Cooking Toor Dal: Toor Dal must be
well washed to keep it from foaming too much, either in several changes
of water or by shaking vigorously in a wire strainer under hot running
water. Place in a saucepan with plenty of head room and bring to a boil
uncovered. I usually use a skimmer to remove the pile of foam that
rises. Turn to very low simmer, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or
longer until as tender as you want it. Time depends on the texture
you want (I like more texture than they do in India) and on the age
of the Toor Dal. If it is old, it will never be tender, no matter how
long you simmer it. Unfortunately, you can't tell how old it is until
you try cooking it. It should end up with almost no free water, but
there should be some - hold uncovered at a high simmer for a while
if there is too much. In India, where fuel is always in short supply,
this cooking is often done in a much shorter time in a pressure cooker
(for three whistles or so), but few homes in North America have a
pressure cooker these days.
- Comments: Recipes of this sort are
made with different steps depending on the cook. The biggest difference
is that some do the recipe withought the Tempering, then fry the
Tempering in a teaspoon of oil and stir it into the recipe just
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required
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