Category: Green Tomatoes

Andhra Aavakaaya ~ Tomato Aavakaaya with Green Tomatoes

Aavakaaya is a type of centuries-old pickle tradition from Andhra Pradesh, India. In aavakaaya, the dressing itself forms the base and the green, raw vegetables are used subordinately to add texture, flavor and color. Freshly grounded dried red chillies and mustard seeds play leading role, supported by methi seed powder, salt and sesame oil. This aavakaaya base goes exceptionally well with green, unripe mangoes, lemon-cukes and also with green tomatoes.

Tomatoes, when they are immature and unripe have lemon-cuke like firm texture and sour, acidic flavor, so they are suitable to this style of traditional pickle making. This 100 plus year old recipe source is amma, Nandyala and the recipe suggestion came from a friend over dinner conversation. Thanks Kousalya and Sanjeev for the excellent suggestion.

Green tomatoes

Andhra Aavakaaya with Green Tomatoes
(for a small batch of about 3 cups pickle)

Green Tomatoes:
Pick about 6 medium-sized green tomatoes. They have to be firm with no damage to skin and when cut open, the insides have to be in green without any hint of pink or red ripening colors.
Rinse the tomatoes under water. Pat them dry with a clean cloth. On a dry cutting board, chop tomatoes finely into half-inch pieces (about 3 cups). Take the tomato pieces in a clean, dry glass or ceramic bowl.

Aavakaaya Base:

    For Aavakaaya Powder: Heat a skillet. When skillet is hot, add 2 tablespoons of black mustard seeds, half teaspoon of methi seeds and 10 ring finger length dried red chillies. Roast them to fragrance, constantly stirring. Cool the ingredients to room temperature. In a clean, dry mixer, take the roasted ingredients and grind them to fine powder. (About half cup of powder.)

    Aavakaaya Oil: In the same skillet, add quarter cup of Indian sesame oil. Heat the oil and add quarter teaspoon of hing powder. Gently mix and turn off the flame. Cool the oil to room temperature. Instead of hing, we could also add peeled garlic cloves and fresh sprig of curry leaves to oil for different ruchi.

Tomato Aavakaaya:
Sprinkle aavakaaya powder over green tomato pieces. Add quarter cup iodine-free, sea salt. Using a clean, dry wooden spoon, gently combine. Pour the aavakaaya oil. Mix well.

Ladle the pickle into a clean ceramic or glass jar. Cover loosely with a lid. Keep it undisturbed on the kitchen countertop and after three days, mix well again and start having it. This rest period will give enough time for tomatoes to absorb the aavakaaya seasoning.

Tomato aavakaaya tastes great with all types of traditional breakfast items and particularly with rice/roti -dal/dahi combination. It stays fresh up to a month as long as pickle precautions (no wet stuff, enough salt) are taken.

Here is the Tomato Aavakaaya preparation in images:


Chopped green tomatoes for aavakaaya


Green tomatoes mixed with aavakaaya powder and aavakaaya oil


Andhra Aavakaaya with Green Tomatoes

Note: The proportions I used above are for a general, mild preparation. Some people prefer using more Aavakaaya Powder and Aavakaaya Oil for their pickles. If you prefer making the pickle with more base, you could use one-and-half or two times the proportions, or to your liking.
For aavakaaya, we need Indian, untoasted sesame oil, available at Indian grocery shops. This is different from Chinese sesame oil.

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

WordPress Themes