Tomato Saar (with Cumin & Pepper) ~ Spicy & Watery Tomato Soup

Folks, I am back with another Mangalorean favourite. Tomato saar is a simple watery soup - a lot like rasam minus the blend of spices. Tomato saar is prepared in every home in Mangalore - irrespective of cast, creed & status. Its one of the most simplest meal time preparations. I had a lot of readers asking me for this recipe as it is typically Mangalorean and can be made in a jiffy.


I am not sure how I missed to post this recipe before, but let me tell you that this recipe varies from home to home. Most Mangaloreans I know prepare the saar by chopping up the tomatoes and sauteing it in the hot oil before adding the seasoning & water. However today's recipe is made by boiling the tomatoes, skinning and pureeing them to a paste with two simple ingredients - cumin & pepper.

Cumin (jeere) & pepper (miri) are two popularly used spices in Mangalorean cuisine - so much so that we prepare many dishes the Jeere-Miri way - fish, chicken & veggie curries are soaked in an aromatic spice base of cumin, pepper and a few other spices tossed in. I will post those recipes one by one. 


About the dish:
This is an absolutely easy recipe that can be made with a few ingredients and under 30 minutes. Tastes wonderful with any dry side dish - be it non veg (beef sukka, chicken sukka) or veg (sonay sukhe). You can drink it up - freshly made & piping hot, if you have a cold - perfect to get rid of a stuffy nose, headache and the works. The amount of peppercorns used in this preparation may seen too much, however, surprisingly it doesn't feel enough in comparison to the tang provided by the tomatoes. But do play safe if you must and reduce the quantity. I recommend you keep freshly ground/pounded pepper handy to sprinkle later if you must. Don't use store bought pepper if you can help it.

Tomato Saar (with pepper & cumin)
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Serves 4

You Need:
For seasoning
Method:
1. Wash the tomatoes and transfer into a deep pan. Add enough water to cover them and bring it to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes or till you see the skin cracking up - retain the boiled water and transfer the tomatoes into a bowl of fresh water.
2. Skin the tomatoes and rinse the skin in the boiled water and discard. Chop the skinned tomatoes and grind them along with the peppercorns and cumin to a fine paste. It is ok if one or two peppercorns remain whole.
3. On a medium flame heat the oil for seasoning in a kadhai/wok or a heavy bottomed pan and toss in the 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and fry for a couple of minutes, reduce the flame add the curry leaves and the ground paste for a couple of minutes. Fry for about 2 minutes or till the oil leaves the masala. Add 2 cups water, salt to taste and bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Optional step: Depending on how sour the tomatoes are adjust the taste by adding tamarind juice if required. Adjust the spiciness by adding chilly powder.
5. Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Notes:
1. Preferably use juicy round tomatoes that are just ripe.
2. Increase the peppercorns to a total of 2 tablespoons if you like a spicy saar. Alternatively use the chilli powder to adjust the spice - this is a better option than increasing peppercorns as it can turn very spicy


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