Tomato Gojju

June 3, 2011

Even though my family is originally from Gujarat, some of my favorite Indian comfort food is from South India.  You see, when I was a baby we lived across the street from a wonderful family from Bangalore who we are so close to, we consider each other family.  Because of this close relationship, they love classic Gujrati dishes like kadhi (yogurt soup) and we adore South Indian specialties like rasam (tomato broth)!



Gojju is another one of our favorite dishes.  Gojju can be made with a wide variety of vegetables and typically is a powerful mixture of spices and vegetables meant to be eaten as a flavoring for rice.  It’s an amazing dish–rich, complex, spicy, and tangy all in one bite.  Most of the gojju I had eaten in the past were made with onions or bitter gourd (karela) but on a recent trip to San Antonio to visit this family they had made for us this tomato gojju.  The flavors absolutely blew my mind!  The tomato provided an enticing sweetness and tartness to the complex gojju spices.  I begged them for the recipe and finally recreated it today!

The dish starts by freshly toasting whole spices and split urad dal with a bit of oil.  (Unfortunately, I did not have urad dal and replaced it with split chickpeas, chana dal.)  The spices and dal are then freshly ground.  I chose to grind mine in a mortar and pestle, however due to large amount of elbow grease I highly recommend opting for a spice grinder.

After that, mustard seeds are popped in oil and diced tomatoes, asoefetida, salt, and some of the spice blend are brought to a simmer for a few minutes…and that’s it!  I use diced tomatoes, which truly puts this dish into the realm of easy Indian pantry food.  This dish is best served with some rice, cream of wheat, dosa (rice crepes), adai (legume crepes), or even as a spicy pasta sauce or Indian themed salsa.  Enjoy!

Tomato Gojju

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: serves 4Total:

Tomato Gojju is a delicious pantry staple, a rich tomato stew with plenty of warm and intriguing spices, perfect with rice or flat bread, on top of eggs or meat.

You'll Need...


  1. For the spice blend:
  2. Place a small amount of oil in a small skillet.  Add the spices to the oil and toast until slightly browned and aromatic.  Grind spice blend coarsely in a spice grinder.  Set aside
  3. For the gojju:
  4. Heat the oil in a saucepan or a wok until the oil shimmers, and feels very warm when you pass your hand over the pan.  Add the mustard seeds and cover quickly.  Allow the seeds to pop, until the popping becomes infrequent.  The seeds will not visibly change in appearance, however you will hear little "pings" in your cooking pot and will see the mustard seeds jumping out of the oil.
  5. Quickly add the entire can of diced tomatoes, including juice, to the pan and stir to thoroughly combine.  Add two ample tablespoonfuls of the spice blend to the mixture, as well as the asoefetida, and salt.  Let the tomatoes come to a simmer and simmer for several minutes stirring occasionally.  Taste for salt and season appropriately.  When you turn off the heat, add in the cilantro.  

Additional Notes

Cook up your favorite rice, grain, or other dish to eat with this delicious tomato dish and enjoy!
Also goes great with fried eggs, crusty bread, or on top of grilled meat.


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  • Reply gabriel June 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    This looks great.
    Pantry food is clutch.

    Pantry questions:

    Can the spice blend be prepared ahead of time without loss of flavor or not?
    Is there another name for the spice blend besides tomato-gojju masala?
    Shelf life? Preferred storage?

    That would make this a 3 step dish (from the pantry to the plate, when your mission is to sate).

    Can the mustard seeds burn?
    Do you cook this in Teflon, steel, or iron?

    Do you ever eat this plain (without a starch)?

    Is this a summer (monsoon?) or winter food, or neither?

    Is there a rassam recipe of which you think highly and would like to share or refer? (!)

    Thanks and kudos.

  • Reply Suresh June 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Keep on!!!


  • Reply Crepes of Wrath June 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This sounds delicious. My husband works right next to an specialty Indian spice store, so he'll have to grab everything I need to make this!

  • Reply June 4, 2011 at 3:20 am

    @gabriel: I'm going to tackle your questions one by one!
    1. The spice blend can be prepared ahead of time. Obviously it's best fresh but you could store it in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 months or so without too much detriment to flavor.
    2. Don't actually know another name. Will have to check with the Kasinaths and get back to you. Sorry!
    3. In the form of Vamana, Vishnu took two steps and covered the entire universe, his third step he placed on the head of the arrogant Bali thus earning the name Trivikrama.
    4. The mustard seeds can burn. That's why it's really important to use your senses: watch them cook, you'll see them pop; listen to them pop and stop them when the popping slows down; and inhale the aroma of the mustard seeds as they get warm and toasty.
    5. I made the dish in a stainless steel saucepan. As you can see from the photo, the spices I toasted on teflon, although you really could use the same steel saucepan to reduce the number of dishes you have to do. Do NOT use cast iron unless it is incredibly well seasoned because the iron taste will get into the tomatoes and the acidity will wear away at the seasoning.
    6. Gojju can be eaten plain, though it traditionally is not. Be creative! Think of it as a spicy tomato sauce!
    7. Not sure what season this traditionally belongs to. Again, will have to check with the Kasinaths. But, because all the spices are by and large available year round as are canned tomatoes, think of this as a year round treat!
    8. Rasam will come soon! Keep your eyes peeled!

    @ Papa Hathi: Thanks! Love you too!

    @Crepes of Wrath: Yay! I'm so glad you're planning on trying this recipe. It's a great way to begin to build a collection of Indian spices! Let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply healthyforbetter July 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Wow , a south indian recipe! I am from Karnataka and gojju is regularly cooked at home! Reading the above comments, I thought I should mention, it is not a seasonal gravy. We make it often to eat with rice/rotis. Especially tomato gojju is the savior of most ladies as it is easy and tomatoes are always stocked(as tomato rasam is a staple).

  • Reply July 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    @healthy for better: Thanks so much for the info! I LOVE gojju, but unfortunately do not know as much about the origins of the dish. I appreciate your insight 🙂

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