Bowl of Green Tomato Masiyal
(click to enlarge)

Green Tomato Masiyal
India, South
  -   Thakkali Kai Masiyal
Serves:
Effort:
Time:
DoAhead:  
4 w/rice  
***
1-3/4 hr  
Yes
This delicious dish would be a first course with rice in southern India, but is likely to be a main dish with rice in North America. A Masiyal is very similar to a Sambar, except the vegetables are mashed. Thakkali is Tomato in Tamil, and Kai is "raw", but really means unripe. This recipe is easy to make - don't let all those notes frighten you, they're just stuff you should know before starting.



1-1/2
3/4
2
1
2
1
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1/2
1/2
1/2
1/16
2
5
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1
1/2
1/2
1
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1-1/2
-------
3
#
c
c
T
c

---
t
t
t
t


---
t
t
t
t
---
T
---
T
Green Tomatoes (1)  
Toor Dal (2)
Water
Tamarind Paste (3)
Water
Green Chili (4)
-- Tempering
Mustard seeds (5)
Cumin seeds
Urad Dal (6)
Asafoetida (7)
Red Chili, dry (8)
Curry Leaves (9)
-- Powders
Sambar Powder (10)  
Turmeric
Chili Powder (11)
Salt
--------------
Oil
-- Garnish
Cilantro Leaves
PREP   -   (1 hr - 25 min work)
  1. Cut GREEN TOMATOES into pieces less than 1/2 inch on a side.
  2. Wash TOOR DAL in several changes of water. Put in a sauce pan with 2 cups Water and bring to a boil uncovered (to prevent it from foaming over) and simmer covered until tender and starting to break up (45 minutes or more). See Note-12 on Cooking Toor Dal.
  3. Chop TAMARIND PASTE and soak in 2 cups freshly boiled water for 1/2 hour or more. Strain through a wire strainer, retaining the liquid and forcing the paste through the strainer with a wooden spoon. Discard the fiber. Be sure to scrape the outside of the strainer, as much will be stuck there.
  4. Chop GREEN CHILI fine.
  5. Mix together all Tempering items.
  6. Mix together all Powders items.
  7. Chop Cilantro small for Garnish.
RUN   -   (35 min)
  1. In a spacious sauté pan (3-1/2 qt), coverable wok or kadhai, heat Oil quite hot. Stir in Tempering mix and let it sputter for just 20 seconds, then stir in Chili, followed immediately by Tomatoes. Fry until the tomato liquid is at a boil.
  2. Turn heat to low. Cover tightly and sweat the Tomatoes, stirring now and then, for about 20 minutes. Mash them some every time you stir. I use a wooden pestle.
  3. Stir in Powders mix and fry stirring for a couple of minutes.
  4. Stir in Tamarind liquid and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in cooked Toor Dal and simmer another 5 minutes. Adjust liquid with boiling water if needed, this dish should be almost soup-like.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro. Accompany with Roti or long grain rice (south Indian or Thai Jasmine).
NOTES:
  1. Green Tomatoes:   These are unripe regular tomatoes, not "Mexican Green Tomatoes" (Tomatillo) which are not actually tomatoes. The tomatoes should be solid green or with a slight white or pink blush. Riper tomatoes can be used, but must be very firm. For details see our Tomatoes page.
  2. Toor Dal:   This is peeled and split Pigeon Peas, also called Tuvar Dal and Red Gram (for the flowers). For a lighter flavor you could use Moong Dal- peeled and split Mung Beans, and some recipes call for half of each. Both these are available at any market serving an Indian community. See Note-12 for cooking details.
  3. Tamarind Paste:   This comes in several forms. This recipe uses paste, but if you wish to use concentrate, use the same amount. For details see our Tamarind page.
  4. Green Chili:   The hot green Jwala chilis used in India are not much available even here in Los Angeles, so we use Serranos. One, combined with the Chili Powder, will make this dish moderately hot by Southern California standards. For details see our Indian Chilis page.
  5. Mustard Seeds:   In India black mustard seeds are always used, but yellow will work.
  6. Urad Dal:   This tiny white dal is split and peeled urad beans (black gram). It is easily available in any market serving an Indian community. If you don't have it, leaving it out will not make a lot of difference.
  7. Asafoetida - Hing:   This is the resin of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat onions or garlic, but is also often combined with onions.   Caution: there are two forms: Pure Hing (asafoetida beads or ground) and the more common "Hing Powder". The "powder" is heavily cut with rice flour. The amount given here is for pure asafoetida. Use about 3 times as much if what you have is the "powder" form. For details see our Asafoetida page.
  8. Red Chili:   In India, Dahni chilis would be used, which are essentially the same as our Thai Chilis, but the common Japones could also be used. For details see our Chilis page.
  9. Curry Leaves:   These are essential for the flavors of southern India, but if you don't have them, leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. For details see our Curry Leaf page.
  10. Sambar Powder:   This is an important masala in southern India. It can be purchased, but is better made at home. Here is our Sambar Powder recipe.
  11. Chili Powder   I use Khandela or Reshampatti, which makes this dish fairly hot by Southern California standards. If in doubt, use Kashmir powder. For details see our Indian Chilis page.
  12. Cooking Toor Dal:   Toor Dal must be well washed to keep it from foaming too much, either in several changes of water or by shaking vigorously in a wire strainer under hot running water. Place in a saucepan with plenty of head room and bring to a boil uncovered. I usually use a skimmer to remove the pile of foam that rises. Turn to very low simmer, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or longer until as tender as you want it. Time depends on the texture you want (I like more texture than they do in India) and on the age of the Toor Dal. If it is old, it will never be tender, no matter how long you simmer it. Unfortunately, you can't tell how old it is until you try cooking it. It should end up with almost no free water, but there should be some - hold uncovered at a high simmer for a while if there is too much. In India, where fuel is always in short supply, this cooking is often done in a much shorter time in a pressure cooker (for three whistles or so), but few homes in North America have a pressure cooker these days.
  13. Comments:   Recipes of this sort are made with different steps depending on the cook. The biggest difference is that some do the recipe withought the Tempering, then fry the Tempering in a teaspoon of oil and stir it into the recipe just before serving.
  14. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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