2 to 4tablespoonsvegetable oil (palm, peanut, canola, etc.)
1 large onion or several scallions, peeled and sliced or chopped (1cup)
1heaping teaspoon crushed or minced garlic (optional)
1heaping teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger (optional)
2cups sliced or diced tomatoes
Chili pepper, to taste (use as much of a seeded and chopped habanero or Scotch bonnet [hot] or jalapeno [mild] as desired—for beginners, a thin slice will do); or ⅛teaspoondried ground red pepper to begin with and adjust to taste (more can be added, but the reverse is not true)
½teaspoonsalt or seasoned salt (or to taste)
1heaping teaspoon canned tomato paste
½cupwater or stock
Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions to the hot oil and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, if using, and sauté 2 or 3 minutes more.
Stir in the tomatoes, chili pepper, and salt. Stir in tomato paste and water or stock.
Simmer about 15 minutes on medium-low heat, or until the gravy has thickened to the desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings.