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!
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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.
- For the Spice blend:
- 3 whole dried red chiles
- 2 Tbsp. urad dal or split dried chickpeas (chana dal)
- 1 Tbsp. black mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. whole cumin (jeera)
- 15 fenugreek seeds (methi)
- For the tomatoes:
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp. neutral flavored oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds (rai)
- 1/4 tsp. asafetida (hing)
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro
- For the spice blend:
- 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
- For the gojju:
- 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.
- 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.
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.