So, the very helpful counterman/cashier at my favorite Indian spice store, Dual Quality Products, will give you a quick verbal recipe for almost anything you buy in the store. When I asked for his input on using shahi jeera, also known as black cumin (not to be confused with kalonji, or black onion seed), he gave me a quick recipe. When he mentioned tomato, I asked if I could use canned. "You can," he replied, "but fresh is better." At the time I wondered what planet he was from, where you could shell out good money for delicious tomatoes only to turn around and skin and cook them.
Well, the name of the planet is late summer, and we've just crash-landed there. Our farm share gave us nearly five pounds of beautiful tomatoes and four pints of delicious cherry tomatoes this week, and I'm sure another batch is coming next week. Frankly, we're going to have to cook some of them.
Chettinad chicken. I've been obsessed with doing this recipe since I figured out that it's a pretty close match to (and possibly the original source of) my beloved hometown curry (Durban, South Africa). It has all the same spices, the tomatoes, the curry leaves that Durban curry has, but relies on your own spice mix rather than a Durban masala, and fresh tomatoes rather than tomato paste. I discovered the dish at Chola, the stunningly good Indian place near us on the Upper East Side, and have been wanting to do it ever since.
I took the recipe from about.com and sort of simplified it for the way I cook, making it a one-pot meal. I'll post the recipe later. Here's pic of these world-class tomatoes, skinned and seeded, and headed for glory. The green is provided by curry leaves.
Welcome to Planet Tomato.