Tomatoes with an Indian Flair

In 1893, the US Supreme Court had the difficult task of classifying tomato as a fruit or a vegetable.

A tomato importer claimed that tomato was a fruit and therefore duty free while a US customs agent at the port of new York considered it as a vegetable and hence subject to tariff. To quote the decision made by supreme court associate justice Gray, "Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans and peas. But in the common language of the people...all these are vegetables, which are grown in kitchen gardens, and ...are usually served at dinner in, with or after the soup, fish or meats...and not, like fruits generally, as dessert".

Thus after that Tomato has always been a vegetable and not a fruit.

Tomatoes are relished in every cuisine around the world.I am sure you have your favorite recipe with Tomatoes. Following are some of my favorite tomato recipes.

Chilled Tomato soup

This is a very refreshing soup for a hot summer afternoon.

4 tomatoes, medium ( chopped)
2 English cucumbers (chopped)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups plain yogurt

Place all ingredients in a blender. Make a smooth puree. Serve with ice cubes.

Hema's Hints:

For a light supper, pair this soup with a salad.

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Tangy Garlic-Tomato chutney

This chutney is not for the faint hearted. It is a blend of tangy and fiery flavors.

1 tablespoon oil
10 garlic cloves (sliced)
2 red onions ( chopped)
5 Tomatoes ( chopped)
1 cup cilantro ( washed and chopped)
2 tablespoon red chili powder ( or as per taste)
1 tablespoon salt

Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic slices and wait till it turns brown. Throw in the tomatoes, onions and cilantro with red chili powder and salt. Stir well and cover it. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Serve hot or chilled.

Hema's Hints:

Mix two parts chutney with one part low fat cream cheese to make a delicious spread.

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Mungbean stuffed Tomatoes

A protein-rich appetizer, very eye-catching.

½ cup split yellow mung beans
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon red chilies flakes ( optional)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt ( or as per taste)
20 baby tomatoes

Cook yellow split mung beans with 2 cups of water till soft. Drain away the water and keep aside.

In a small pan heat oil and add cumin seeds and chili flakes. Stir for a minute and then add cooked beans, lime juice and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.

Stuff the tomatoes with this mix and serve cold.

Hema's Hints:

For an elegant party presentation, serve these stuffed tomatoes on a bed of rice.

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