Sweet-Sour Tomatoes

Khatta-Mittha Tamota

When tomatoes are tasty, plentiful, and too soft to be used in a salad, make this dish instead. They don’t all have to be the same color. Parsis usually serve these tomatoes with an egg topping. Cooked down a bit, they also make a fabulous barbecue sauce, especially if you increase the cayenne. Try parboiled baby back pork ribs blanketed with this tomato mixture and cooked in a low oven until they’re tender.


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 green chiles, slit to the stem
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper or Indian chilly powder
  • 2 to 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped with skin and seeds (4 to 6 cups)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar or jaggery
  • Salt to taste
  • Small handful of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) stems and leaves


  • Heat the oil in a heavy wide pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chiles and sizzle briefly, following them with the onion and paste. Let the onions soften and brown around the edges. Then add the cayenne, stirring for a minute or so before adding the tomatoes and brown sugar. Cook the mixture over high heat for a minute or so, then reduce the heat and let the tomatoes cook down to the consistency of a loose jam, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir from time to time to keep the bottom from caramelizing. Add salt to taste and the fresh coriander. Add more sugar if you like. The effect should be sweet-tart without being sugary.