Tomato Bhaath- Ajji style

To me food is not just about cooking and eating. To me it is also about people, people that love me, the people I love, the people I loved and lost. Food is about memories, the way I saw the world once upon a time. My Ajji passed away a few months back. Unlike my grandfather, I never spent a lot of time with her, but there was always a longing for some time with her. For umpteen number of reasons it never worked that way. But in the time that I got to spend with her a few hours, each time I went home during last decade and half, I got a piece of her, very little at a time, just like the summer rains it left me far from satisfied. If anything it only left me parched and dry looking for more of her. Human relationships are so weird. Unfortunately, this contorted relationship will remain that way.

But I still remember her for all the foods that she made. This past Shivratri, I was reading one of my previous posts, and I noticed that three years ago, I had called her for the Tambittu recipe. This year all I am left with are the recipes I collected from her over the years.  I hold close to heart, her signature dishes, Idli, Sambar,Chutney and sweet Chutney, Tomato Bhaath, Kargalu , Mosaru Shaale, Akki tari uppittuand her Kodbale , Rave unde, Mithai....the list goes on. For  now it is Tomato Bhaath. My sister spend a while with my Ajji and she did pick up a few of her signature dishes. So this time, I borrowed the recipe from her. The trick really was to use very little fat but to get the best of flavors in the dish, just like my Ajji did. I guess it was just her. She could do it much better than any one else in my family.

So here is  Tomato Bhaath my Ajji style.
We will need,

Rice 1.5 cups washed and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes.
Tomatoes 300 grams (about 3 medium)
Peanut oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seed s1/4 tsp
Fennel 1/2 tsp
Cardamon 1
Cloves 10-13
Cinnamon 1" piece
Onion 1/2  chopped ( small )
Methi leaves from 1 bunch (washed,cleaned and tough stalks discarded)
Avarekalu /Indian beans/Papdi Lilva 3/4 cup
Salt and juice of Lemon to taste.

For the Masala Paste
Coconut 1/2 cup grated
Green chillies 5-8 (adjust according to taste)
Mint leaves a generous handful
Garlic 5-6 cloves
Ginger 1" piece chopped
Onion 1/2 small

  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pot. Throw in the mustard seeds, fennel, cardamon, cloves and cinnamon. 
  • Once the spices stop sizzling, add the onions. Saute for a few minutes and then throw in the Avarekalu and Methi leaves. Saute till the greens and avarekalu are tender.
  • Grind all the ingredients under the Masala paste  and pour it into the onion-methi mixture. Add about 1/2 a cup of water and cook the masala till fragrant. Separately grind the tomatoes into a smooth paste as well and reserve.
  • When the masala no longer smells raw,  add the tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil and add about 3 cups of water. Adjust salt, add lemon juice if the tomatoes are not tart enough. Bring it to a boil.
  • Drain the soaked rice well and add it to the tomato and masala mixture.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook till the rice is soft and fluffy.
  • Finish with a tablespoon of Ghee if  desired. (I always do it ) Serve hot.


Paro said...

Reading your post, I was reminded of my time with my ajji. Unfortunately I lost her long time ago but I have very fond memories and also food memories associated with her. I follow you blog and love all the tidbits you share with the recipe. Keep them coming.

Unknown said...

So true, recipes are about the memories. Bhaath looks yummy Smitha!

Hari Chandana said...

healthy and delicious rice.. yummy!!

Vanamala Hebbar said...

wow super..bookmarked will try someday

Lakshmi said...

A very flavorful rice with menthe soppu and avarekaalu plus tomatoes. I am hungry again.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Thanks folks :)

Vysyas recipes said...

Spicy and tasty recipe.

Unknown said...

I love the way u write. ... nice .... we live with our loved ones memories .... tnx to them... we r living coz of their memories.......

And the veggies combination seems yummmy n hv not tried this....... have to have to try