Food : Tomato Kasundi

This year I had a decent tomato harvest allowing me to make sauces and chutneys. Tomato Kasundi combines 2 of my favourite things , preservation by pickling or fermentation and the flavours of the Indian sub-continent . Kasundi is a chutney that comes in a number of forms but outside of the Indian community is seen mainly in Tomato and Aubergine form. The key to kasundi is mustard , both the seeds and the oil. Traditionally kasundi is made during the mustard harvest as a way of preserving it. On the topic of traditions I recommend checking out the Wikipedia page on kasundi it details all the religious / cultural rules about who can make it. Take a pinch of salt when it says it’s now a customary Christmas gift in NZ however.
This year I vaguely followed a modern Kasundi recipe that relies on vinegar pickling rather than fermentation for preservation but next year I might look at doing a fermented Kasundi.


2 tablespoons black mustard seeds

1 cup malt vinegar

 2kg red tomatoes, firm and ripe, roughly chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger

15 cloves garlic

1 cup mustard oil

1 tablespoon turmeric

5 tablespoons ground cumin

3 cinnamon quills

Handful of bay leaves

1 tablespoon red chili powder

10 fresh green chiles roughly chopped

1/2 cup sugar

Salt, to taste

Soak the mustard seeds overnight in the vinegar.

Put the soaked mustard seeds, vinegar they were soaked in, ginger, and garlic into a food processor and grind into a smooth paste. Set aside.

Heat the mustard oil in a pot over low heat. When it is very hot, add the turmeric, cumin, and chili powder, cinnamon and bay leaves. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Now add tomatoes, the green chiles, the mustard-vinegar-ginger-garlic mixture, sugar, and salt. Continue to cook on low heat until the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. Oil should form on the surface.

Taste and adjust with salt / sugar / vinegar as necessary

Remove from the heat and carefully transfer hot kasundi into clean jars . Top up with mustard oil. Seal with clean lids.

The flavours will mellow and settle after a few days but it’s perfectly good eating as soon as it has cooled.

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