Saturday, 22 November 2008

Multi-Purpose Tomato Sauce

I went to my fren's Deevali open house 2 weeks ago and have tasted this wonderful tomato sauce. The recipe was a hand-me-down from the family's grand parents. Obviously it's a trade secret as the family was mummed about revealing the secret ingredients despite my many rounds of hinting and probing. Eager to find out the ingredients contained in this secret recipe, I walloped quite a large amount of this sauce with the bryiani rice. I ended up eating more tomato sauce than the rice and mutton curry! I believe my effort didn't go in vain as I managed to "catch" the taste of the ingredients used. Surprisingly it didn't taste spicy like the typical Indian style of tomato chutney. The sweetness is unpretentious, for you can tell that the natural sweetness was actually came from the tomatoes. The mild sourish taste made the sauce even more appetizing. I can't but to say that this tomato sauce is really superb!

I have decided to experiment out the tomato sauce recipe. Anyway, I have modified the recipe a little to suit my own preference. The original recipe uses purely tomato, onion and some cashew nuts. I believe the secret lies with the oil - which is ghee, one of the Indians' favorites. Ghee or clarified butter is really not my type of oil as it's rather fattening despite the fact that it makes the food taste good. So you will not find this item in my following recipe:

Tomato Sauce Recipe:
6 red tomatoes (the riper the better as it is sweeter)- Chopped 2 tomatoes and puree the remaining 4 into paste.
1 big onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red capsicum/bell pepper(any colour will do), chopped into cubes
Sugar and salt according to taste.

1. Heat 2 table spoon of cooking oil in the pan.
2. When the oil is hot, stir fry the onion till it becomes soft.
3. Add minced garlic
4. Add in capsicum and chopped tomatoes and continue to stir fry till fragrant.
5. Pour in the tomato puree.
6. Simmer till the mixture thicken and all the vegetables become soft.
7. Add sugar and salt to taste

Well, if you don't like the chunky texture, just add a little bit more water and simmer till all the ingredients become very soft. I basically don't like to puree it further as this will end up taste like baby food..You can also add some other chunky vege such as carrots, celery or courgettes. If you like it to taste more like kwai-lo style, sprinkle with some mixed herbs, black pepper or dried oregano to give the extra zing.

This sauce is simple to make and I call it multi-purpose tomato sauce for many reasons:-
1) It's an excellent spread for toast bread, chappati, naan and pizza
2) Mix it with some fried minced meat and transform it into a tasty bolognaise sauce for pasta of all types.
3) Can't finish? Store it in the fridge and make it a dipping sauce for tacos, keropok and small cheesedale cracker biscuits.
4) Having left-over chickens and meatballs from last nite's dinner? Just pour this sauce over to become a new dish.
5) It makes an excellent gravy for nasi bryani or plain rice and kids love it coz it's mildly sweeten.

The list goes on.. I believe for the sole reason that any homemade sauce is 100% original and free from any preservative is good enough to convince anyone to DIY this sauce at home. My next experiment is to make this sauce into homemade chili sauce so that I can say bye to Maggi or Kimball or Ayamas. Well, the outrage about Chinese melamine usage has no doubt a major fear factor for many. Sadly,our government has failed to scrutinize on how much this chemical has pervaded our food system. So you can't blame me for becoming paranoia after the breaking news. All of you I believe are like me nowadays. Fear of canned food, fear of biscuits, fear of bread and cakes with extended shelf life, fear of preserved vegetable and cured meat...and finally, fear of China! Not so much about their earthquakes, but food...


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