Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Tomato Kasundi -- adapted from Leela Majumdar

Tomato Kasundi

Tomato kasundi | Tomato Kashundi

This Kasundi is great as a dip for anything or a dressing for your cucumber-carrot salad. It has more of a tangy tomatoe-y taste than a mustard-y taste. Be generous with the mustard oil and you won't be disappointed.

Aam Kashundi

This Tomato Kasundi recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbook of all times. It's in Bengali by my favorite author Leela Majumdar. For those who don't know about her, she is a very famous author of Bengali literature and most loved for her writings for the young adults. Her books like "Podipishi'r Bormi Bakso" or "Monimala" are legends in their own times. Her memoir "Paakdondi" still remains in the list of my favorite books. She also happens to be Satyajit Ray's aunt.

I am not a big time cookbook reader. Never was. My recipes are mostly from friends, families and now blogs. My mother too never had a cookbook as far as I can remember. Cookbooks were not the "in thing" in those days. However she used to often copy recipes from magazines like Jugantor or Sananda and write them down in a diary. We both loved reading the recipes in colorful pages of Sananda or Femina those days. And of course the Personal columns :-p

The first cookbook I ever bought was just before I moved to US. It was a bengali cookbook by Bela De, very popular in those times. It had lots of recipes and was very cut and dry but useful. The recipes were written just like my Mother would say if you asked her how she made a particular dish -- a little of ginger and some cumin seeds. It gave you a basic framework and you took it from there.

Along with Bela De, I had bought another book, not because I wanted to learn the recipes (though they are excellent) but because I was a(still am) huge fan of the author Lila Majumdar. By then I had read all of her writings and when I landed one afternoon at the Dasgupta book stores in College Street asking if I had skipped reading any of Lila Majumdar's books, they gave me her "Ranna r Boi".

To be honest, I wasn't too enthusiastic. I had hoped for an unpublished manuscript maybe. But then I started reading it without the intention of cooking and started loving it. Her words in the introduction of that book became my mantra.  She wrote recipes in a conversational tone, again missing out on the measurements, but they were honest. They told you about substituting ingredients and things like "You can use this instead of this but it won't taste as good :-D". I read through that book often when I felt homesick in those early days in a foreign country. I cooked from it too but mostly I just read those recipes for pleasure.

"If you have to eat to survive then why not try to eat well. And eating well  means eating food that looks good, tastes good, is nutritious, inexpensive, easy and takes little time to cook "

I was craving for some Aam Kasundi or Mango kashundi  but did not have any mangoes. So I settled on Tomato Kasundi. I have adapted this Tomato Kasundi recipe from the book. The ingredients are as she suggested. It made for a very delicious dip. This Kasundi has more of a tangy tomatoe-y taste than a mustard-y taste. Be generous with the Mustard Oil and you will not be disappointed.

Tomato Kasundi

Garlic -- 8 cloves chopped
Green Chili - 4 chopped
Dry Red Chilli - 2

Mustard Seeds -- I Tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp

Tomatoes -- 1 Cup of chopped tomatoes.(Or use organic canned tomatoes)
Vinegar -- 1/4th Cup

Mustard Oil -- 3-4 Tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 2 tsp

Make Mustard paste

Soak Mustard seeds in water for 30 minutes.

Drain the Mustard seeds and put in a mixer jar.
Add half of the garlic and green chillies
Add the Cumin seeds
Add Vinegar as needed to make the mustard paste

If you cannot make a smooth paste in your mixie, transfer the contents to a mortar pestle and make a paste

Make the Tomato Kasundi

Heat 2 Tbsp Mustard oil on stove top in a saucepan

Add the rest of garlic and green chillies. Add the dry Red chilies.

When you get aroma of garlic add the tomatoes. Cook until raw smell of tomato is gone. 6-8 minutes

Add the mustard paste you had made and rest of the Vinegar. Saute for 3-4 minutes
Add salt and sugar to taste. Simmer for 3-4 minutes

Cool and make a paste. Transfer to a glass jar. Top with 1-2 Tbsp of Mustard oil. Refrigerate

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