Roasted Tomato Salsa

I learnt how to make this from my sister Roopa, many years ago. To this day it is a hot favourite at home, and my son eats this, not just with tortilla chips but also with his omelettes, swearing it is better than ketchup (which used to be his favourite dip!).

You can add as many tweaks as you would like. It’s all a personal choice!

Ingredients:

  1. Fresh tomatoes – 1 kg
  2. Onion – 1
  3. Peeled garlic – 1 clove (optional)
  4. Fresh chilli or jalapeño – 1
  5. Lemon juice /cider vinegar – 2 tbsp
  6. Roasted cumin powder – 1 tbsp.
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Chopped cilantro, basil or oregano – 1 tsp of the oregano, and 2 tbsp of the cilantro or basil.

Note : Remember the dry oregano has a very strong flavour, while the fresh cilantro and basil do not.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
  2. Wash and dry the tomatoes. Remove the stalks.
  3. Cut an X on the bottom of each tomato.
  4. Peel the garlic clove (if using), and cut each clove of garlic into small pieces.
  5. Insert each piece into the X cut into each tomato .
  6. Grease a big roasting tin with olive oil.
  7. Place the tomatoes in it.
  8. Peel and cut the onion into big chunks.
  9. Put them in the roasting tin along with the tomatoes.
  10. Put the fresh chilli into the tin.
  11. Drizzle everything with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  12. Place the tin in the oven.
  13. Roast it for about 30 minutes or till the skin blackens and blisters.
  14. Take the tin out of the oven and leave it to cool. When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them if you want to. (I usually don’t.)
  15. Get your blender ready. Add the tomatoes (with the garlic pieces in them), the roasted chilli , the roasted onion, the roasted cumin powder, lemon juice or vinegar and salt to taste. Blend to the desired consistency. Taste, adding more seasoning, if needed.
  16. Add chopped herbs or dried oregano, whichever you prefer using. Remember each will lend its own unique flavour to your salsa!

This salsa will last for more than four weeks in the refrigerator.

To make roasted cumin powder:

Put a small pan on medium heat. Toss in 1/2 cup of whole cumin seeds. Toast them till they turn a toasty brown, and give out a lovely aroma. Take off the heat, and cool it. You can now grind it into a fine powder. It makes  a delicious addition to your salsa or any salads or raitas you make! You can store the roasted cumin powder in a jar for months.

Do start off with cumin seeds, not cumin powder. Cumin powder tends to scorch easily if toasted.

Bon appétit!

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