A Story: How a Traditional Telangana Tomato Curry transformed in my Raw Food style

There is a learning every day; if we look for. This blog post is more than just a recipe. It’s a short story from CA practice times, 34 yrs back. Read on.

During my early days of CA (Public Accountant) Practice, I had to do a bank audit for a small branch near Nirmal, Telangana (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh). This was a small village with no lodging or hotel facility. I softly rejected the offer of the bank manager to stay with him in his house. I preferred (kinda insisted) to sleep on the tables of the bank after it was closed for the business. The Manager had his family in Hyderabad, and would visit them only during weekend. He had a cook who would cook food for him once a day.

I always eat fresh, per my early habit/preference. So preferred to take breakfast of Poori in a roadside eatery (they served only breakfast and tea). I had no choice but to take the offer of the Manager for lunch at his home; while making fruits or biscuits if available, or none as my dinner. Incidentally he was renting a house of Smt. Radha and Sri Raja Reddy, the famous classical dancers of the time. Some of you may recollect them.

His cook was from the Telangana region, a local old woman from a poor family. So she cooked food in a typical style. One item she often made was Tomato curry. The curry was predominantly made with large chunks of ripe tomato, bunch of cut onion, with a little water and salt. And plenty of (did I say plenty of?) red chilli powder. I have to admit, this simple food was actually delicious. And chilli lover that I am, I liked this curry, and it being served hot was a welcome addition (thank God). It did not matter that the rice was of average quality. During those 3 or 4 days I stayed, this was repeated often, maybe sometimes with the addition of cut potato as well, in the curry. There weren’t any of those usual Andhra dishes such as dal, tamarind sambar or pulusu (a variation without dal), or chutney. No pickle either. There was this curd which was more of butter milk. Although I did not like having all of my meal with just one curry, I did like the taste of the curry, and could never forget its unique flavour and taste. The raw red chilli effect in many dishes is somewhat unique in Telangana cuisine.

As much as it was a struggle to eat such over simplistic food that I have never been used (had been that lucky child lived up with parents all this while) to having lunch or dinner without 3 or 4 dishes. Having said that I would often recollect the kindness of this manager who allowed me to share food with him. But for him, the audit would have posed more challenges to me, personally.

I was watching a movie yesterday, and saw this curry in one scene. It brought me back vivid memories, 34 years old now. I wanted to eat this dish again (although we don’t take onion or garlic at home mostly). But one challenge is I am into raw food these days, and so this cooked food was out of reach for me. Incidentally we happened to have a good stock of ripe tomatoes at this time.

Without a plan in head as to how I wanted to consume a large quantity of tomatoes, I routinely added 6 tomatoes into blender, despite a desire to not make my usual tomato soup. I wasn’t even thinking about the curry I saw in the movie yesterday. But routinely added some salt……and things started blooming in my mind. It turned out to be dish very close to the taste I remembered several years back. It was good. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was accidental but turned out so good. So here I publish the recipe.

  • 6 nos. ripe Tomatoes (half ripe will not do good, rest be assured)
  • Quarter teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon of strongly flavourful red chilli powder
  • A teeny tiny pinch of Ajwain

Process them in a high speed blender until the purée is slightly warm. Garnish with cashews to ensure some fat intake. Enjoy with a soup spoon while fresh and warm. By the way, if you may also use this as a vegetable salad dressing. Just make sure the tomatoes are not overly ripe so the sauce is not watery.

Learningincidentally I picked up a small kitchen skill today, after two years into making meals myself. Some people learn late. Just in case you are like me, this might help. I realised that emptying the blender jar into a vessel and scraping the sides to extract fully is not a good approach. It makes it much easier if you actually scrape the sides of the jar first before pouring the contents. The small quantity from scrapings merge easily with main quantity, and all of it can be emptied in one go .

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