Tomato Choka

Cooking to me is like an experiment in the laboratory, just that I am like the first year student in the chemistry lab having more than one idea that will set off his/her lab partner's duppata on fire! It is another story, it happened to me. Just that it was my Kurta not the dupatta. My stupid lab partner spilled some HCL on my Kurta and it developed a 3-4" hole in the matter of seconds, my classmates noticed some smoke as well.. but I could not see as it was on my rear side! what did i do? I wore the same kurta every week to the lab for the rest of the course! Imagine same burnt kurta every time I went to the lab! But then I did not want to take chance with the rest of my wardrobe knowing what a moron my partner was..I hope my lab instructor was much more sensible as to not interpret my action from the angle of affordability.
Story apart, my experiment in the kitchen is so much similar, I have scalded my fingers, palm, wrist so many a times that I have innumerable scars squeezed right in that small area starting from finger tips to wrist! But then it is an adventure right? the best part is, if successful, tongue, stomach, mind and Honey are all happy contended, a very small price to pay for all the happiness indeed!!
I like cooking that way, like an adventure, setting out not knowing what lies ahead at the end of the process. Never sticking to a recipe or measurements, never really knowing what lies in store in the next step! But of late, I am also looking at cookbooks, with their meticulous measurements and awe-inspiring instructions. In fact I feel some of the cook books make cooking look so tedious,I am sure there are people who put down the book saying, 'my-gosh-I-do-not-think-i-will-ever-be-able-to-make-it'
There is one cook book I was recently impressed with, that i even thinking of buying my own copy. It is Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. So many recipe ideas from around the world, I am impressed, the only down side may be is the absence of glossy pictures. I love the look of those glossy sheets. But never mind the recipes are good enough to compensate for the missing pictures. But again, the book is predominantly for the western palate and I would have to pump up the spice level a bit.
This is one such recipe from the book. But then I am not very honest to the book, I always tinker the recipe to suit my taste. So this is my version of the dish which is originally from the Indian immigrants in Trinidad and Tobago. It was yummy with Chapatis and we loved it.

Tomato Choka

You will need,
Brinjal /Eggplant the large ones 1 about 1 lb or so
Tomatoes medium 3
Red onion medium 1 diced
Garlic 3 cloves
Green Chillies 6 (adjust according to taste, this makes it pretty spicy)
Lemon juice a dash
Oil 2 tbsp

  1. Wash the eggplant and tomatoes and pat them dry.
  2. Turn on the broiler. Place the eggplant and tomatoes on a baking sheet, spray some non-stick spray onto them, pop it into the oven.
  3. Keep a close eye, once the skin of the vegetables is charred, remove from the oven and flip them around. That is about 10 minutes in my oven.
  4. Just about 5 minutes before the vegetables are charred on all sides, throw the pods of garlic onto the baking sheet.
  5. After 5-7 minutes remove from the oven.Set it aside to cool
  6. To prepare the choka, heat oil in a wok. Add the slit green chillies. Remove from heat.
  7. Once the roasted vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skin and coarsely chop the pulp and throw it into a mixing bowl. Stir in diced onions
  8. Pour the Tadka over the vegetable mixture, stir adjust salt, lemon juice and serve warm/room temperature with rice or chapatis.
Note: I like to slightly cook onions because Honey has a problem eating raw onions. So I sauteed onions in the tadka for a couple of minutes. So which ever way you make it, it tastes good!


Poonam said...

We make something with brinjal only called gulla bhajji..i will post the recipe soon. This is very innovative. I do watch Maddur Jaffrey's show on Travel & Living..she;s too good

Asha said...

Simple enough to cook in a jiffy! :))

Lakshmi said...

Chemistry labs always leave memorable experiences to everyone I guess. I have dozen or more stories to tell. Choka originally is a UP/Bihari word/dish. Aloo choka is made as an accompaniment to their Khichdi on Saturdays. Every Saturday we happily ate Khichdi in hostel but I never touched choka as they added raw oil (can't remember which oil, but widely used in pickling etc in those parts) which had distinct smell.

Tomato choka looks yumm, I can imagine the taste Smitha, as I have eaten this in many of my NI friends house. Thanks for the recipe.

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

i love this esp with khicdi..luks good!

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Poonam, gulla bhajji! sounds interesting will wait for the recipe on your blog

@ LG,
Khichdi on Saturdays? wow, that used to be the case in my hostel as well! Man, i used to hate. My hostel probably has the reputation of the worst Kichdi I guess, so on Saturdays I was c/o Aravali Canteen! Oh yes we were served Aloo choka as well, Dahi-Aloo Choka- Papad and Achara with Khichdi!Lot of stories indeed

lubnakarim06 said...

Something new to me. Looks yummy.... Nice to know more about Kannada cuisine.... where do u put up in Karnataka?

Sagari said...

this looks veryyyyyyy comfotingg

Deepthi Shankar said...

wow tomato choka sounds very good, I havent tried this .. looks yummm

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Kitchen Flavours,

Basically my folks hail from Tumkur district but brought up in Mysore-Tumkur-Bangalore apart from Amritsar and New Delhi!
Basically from the southern plains of Karnataka as we say 'Bayaluseeme'
Are you from Karnataka as well?

Savi-Ruchi said...


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Ashwini said...

Tomato choka looks yummy.. Not tasted before..have heard a lot about it.. will definitely give a try...Thanks...

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

This sounds good. Easy to make too.
I've seena detailed choka post on Cynthia's Tastes Like Home.

Uj said...

This seems to simple enough to fix up in a jiffy.. we make something similar.. but my MIL also adds curds to it at times and yes we add raw onions too

Paru ... said...

Choka looks delicious smitha.. Its a new dish to me..Will try it soon :)

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Aparna,
Had a peek at Cynthias'.. that is a good deal of info on Choka!


Yeah! my mom makes it too..we call it Bombay Bajji! wonder what its actual name is!

@ Deesha, Paru...
Hope you like the recipe and give it a shot too

Archy said...

Simple an yummy !! Gud with roti !! Thanx for sharing :)!!

anudivya said...

Pretty interesting. I have not made this before... nice.

Trupti said...

First time here. You have a very nice collection of recipes here. Choka looks very delicious.

Sunshinemom said...

Chemistry lab is famous either for this or for budding love stories which of course goes for any lab:) I like to venture cooking like that sometimes on weekends as I have enough time to laze! This looks like a more rustic bharta preparation, and sounds more flavorful than the usual one!

Kannada Cuisine said...

@ Sunshinemom, I bet it is!
So many love stories ... ooph! I love love stories therefore I love lab-stories! Me not lucky.. my lab-partner was a moron! My life partner is definitely better than him! But then on second thoughts, I would have loved to have my Honey for my lab-partner! Our arrange-marriage could have been a 'love' marriage! LoL