Garden Log, June 2010

Table Rose (moss rose)
Table Rose (Moss Rose) in Bloom

June started with warm weather and thunderstorms here in Houston.

Yellow squash and zucchini plants are in their final stage, so had to remove them. They were such characters with those big, prolific leaves, flowers and fruit. With them gone, the veggie patch seemed little empty this evening.

Planted few more seeds of turai, chikkudu and karela.

On green leafy front, sowed green and red amaranth (thotakura) seeds and another patch of gongura seeds last week. They thrive in hot weather and the seedlings are coming up nicely.

Kept few cucumbers on the vine until they are very big and mature for seeds.

Weighed the tomato harvest today. Yield was 10 pounds. Another 5 pounds from the last two weeks for a total of 15 pounds from 12 plants. There are still at least another two pounds of tomatoes on the plants. Not bad.

Tomato plants are growing tall, but there are no new flowers/fruit. Would it be helpful to prune the tomato plants to encourage new growth and fruit? Appreciate response from experienced tomato growers.

Here are some vegetable harvest photos for this week:


Tomatoes (Brandywine, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple), 10 pounds and
12 cherry tomatoes


1 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 5 cucumbers, 6 mirchi


3 bell peppers, 7 brinjals, 12 okra


3 ripe cucumbers for seeds

Green Tomato Chutney

I have so many tomatoes from my garden right now and it’s overwhelming. I have been cooking as many dishes as possible before they get spoiled in this warm and humid Houston weather. One of the recipes I have come up is delicious tasting India inspired chutney with green tomatoes. The recipe is easy, requires only five ingredients and stores well too. The chutney has mild mix of sour-sweet-spice ruchi and tasted really good when applied on toasted bread/chapati.

Green Tomatoes from my Garden
Green Tomatoes from My Garden

Green Tomato Chutney
(makes about four cups of chutney)

4 big-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped, about 6 cups
2 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped, about 3 cups
6 to 8 green chillies, Indian or Thai variety, finely chopped
1 tablespoon, peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon, sea salt or to taste

1. Heat a heavy pot, pour peanut oil and heat until hot about a minute.
2. Add onion and chillies. Stir-fry until they are soft and pale brown.
3. Add green tomatoes. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes. When tomatoes are cooked to soft mush, turn off the heat. Let the ingredients cool to room temperature.
4. Take them in a blender or mortar. Add salt and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Ladle into a clean jar.
5. Serve green tomato chutney with your favorite savory items. The chutney stays fresh for about a week, when refrigerated.

Green Tomato Chutney on Toasted Bread
Green Tomato Chutney on Toasted Bread ~ for Meal Today

Tomato-Garlic Rasam from Nandyala

I left some of the harvested cherry tomatoes on the kitchen counter. Waited a week. When they ripened to deep red, soft to touch stage, I prepared one of my favorite tomato recipes, the traditional tomato-garlic rasam of Nandyala. The rasam has all the usual and lovable characters- the ripe tomatoes, garlic and Indian spices and no gimmicky substances like store-bought stock, ‘enriched’ flour or loads of butter. One thing the rasam demands is that we put some energy into it. No machines, just using our God-given hands. For the effort, the tomatoes richly reward us with their bold, exquisite essence making the rasam tasting a memorable experience.

Home-grown Cherry Tomatoes
Homegrown Cherry Tomatoes

Tomato Garlic Rasam from Nandyala
(for 2 to 4 meal portions)

Prepare the rasam only with burst on touch, water balloon like very ripe tomatoes.

Tomatoes: Take 10 very ripe cherry tomatoes or 2 vine-ripe tomatoes in a big bowl. Chop them coarsely into the bowl. Add a tablespoon of tamarind pulp and a fistful of fresh cilantro leaves. Add a cup of water. Using your clean hand, gently squeeze the ingredients together to extract the juicy essence. Pull up a chair, sit and patiently do it at least for five minutes to bring out the best. Pour the juice through a filter into a bowl, repeat the process one more time and discard the squeezed out pulp.

Garlic : In a mortar, (no blenders, please) take a peeled, plump garlic clove. Add 4 cloves, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, quarter teaspoon each – cumin seeds and black peppercorn. With a pestle, crush the ingredients to smooth paste without adding any water.

Tomato-Garlic Rasam: Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a vessel. Add and toast a sprig of curry leaves, a pinch of cumin seeds to fragrance. Add the tomato juice from step 1 and garlic-spice paste from step 2. Sprinkle a quarter teaspoon each- turmeric and salt. Stir in a tablespoon of crushed jaggery and a cup of water. Mix well. Bring the rasam to boil and then simmer for about five minutes.

Serve the tomato-garlic rasam warm in a bowl. Bursting with tomato essence and in bold red, the rasam is great to sip on its own or to eat with cooked rice.

Tomato Garlic Rasam
A Bowl of Tomato-Garlic Rasam ~ for Meal Today

WordPress Themes