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Tomato Curry

Tomato curry is a spicy and popular vegetarian dish, commonly consumed in the Indian subcontinent. It is more prevalent in the Southern states of India with the dish, Bisi Uppinakay being a delicacy of Karnataka. The curry is simple to prepare and needs no exotic ingredients beyond the common spices that are used for making curries. The recipe is frequently tweaked to suit various tastes and preferences.

It is usually served as a side dish with rice, Indian breads or the South Indian breakfast foods, idlis and dosas. Both green as well as the red forms of this fruit-vegetable can be utilized to prepare curries. The curry usually consists of a thick gravy which can be watered down before being used as a base for other vegetable or meat based dishes. It can also be served with a dollop of cream apart from the customary garnish of coriander leaves.

The curry is considered to be extremely versatile and can also be prepared with the addition of potatoes, drumsticks, eggplants and chunks of cottage cheese apart from the tomatoes.

Overview of Tomato Curry Recipes

The simplest recipe for preparing the tomato curry is to temper mustard seeds and cumin along with red chilies and asafetida in hot vegetable oil before adding the coarsely chopped tomatoes, turmeric, green chilies, ginger paste and water to it. The curry continues to simmer over low flame until it resembles a thick paste. It is then garnished with coriander leaves and served with rice or Indian breads.

The consistency of the curry depends on personal preference and the tomatoes can also be pureed prior to cooking if the curry needs to be utilized as a base for other dishes. Addition of chickpea flour is another method of thickening the gravy.

Popular Variations of Tomato Curry Recipes

There are numerous variations of the curry which can also be served as a part of a salad. The popular forms of the curry are:-

  • Pacha Thakkali Curry- This is a dish from the Indian state of Kerala consisting of curried green tomatoes cooked with coconut and assorted spices.
  • Curried Tomato Salad- A unique salad of tomatoes and onions served with a dressing of curry powder, mayonnaise, and parsley combined together.
  • Tomato Curry Soup- A blend of pureed tomato, onions, celery and grated carrots mixed with vegetable broth and curry powder. It is served as a starter with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Sev Tomata Nu Shaak- This is a pure vegetarian Gujarati dish prepared from ripe tomatoes and fried Indian noodles along with onions, cumin and curry powder.
  • Curried Tomato Lo Mein- It is a Chinese-American dish, cooked with Madras curry powder and dry sherry apart from ripe tomatoes and beef.


In the book, “Authors in the Kitchen,” Lisa See, the novelist, reminiscences about her grandfather’s recipes that include tomato curry variations.