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Tomato Sabji

Tomato sabji is the Indian curry prepared by using ripe red tomatoes as the chief ingredient. The tomato sabji has a slightly sour yet tangy taste to it and serves as a good companion to chappatis, rotis, bread and even steamed rice or pulao. It is a low calorie yet nutrient rich curry that can form a great addition to any meal.

Ingredients and preparation

With tomato as the principle ingredient, sautéed along with onions and some flavoursome spices, this is one dish that is quick and easy to prepare yet tasty and enjoyed by all.

After a little oil is heated in a wok, mustard seeds are spluttered along with some green chillies, and finely minced ginger and garlic. Once these are fried, finely chopped onions are added and fried till transparent. Next chopped tomatoes are added and sautéed along with dry Indian spice powders- coriander, red chilli, turmeric and salt to taste. Tomato sabji is served hot with chappati or steamed rice.

Nutritional Value

Tomato sabji is a very basic recipe and can form the foundation for innumerable Indian curries using different combinations of vegetables ranging from potato, okra, eggplant, and even more high protein additions like cottage cheese, soya nuggets, eggs, fish or chicken.

One serving of the tomato curry ~ 100 g supplies-

• 129 calories of which ~ 37 calories are from fat.

• Total fat content is ~ 4.2 g with 0 saturated fat and cholesterol

• Total carbohydrate content is 15 g with negligible fibre and sugar.

• Protein content is also negligible.

• Vitamins A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and plenty of lycopene as well as some Potassium and Iron

• Tomato consumption is associated with numerous health benefits as they have been proven beneficial for

o improving vision,

o lowering the tendency of blood pressure elevation,

o reducing oxidative stress associated with Type 2 Diabetes

o As an abundant source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has proven to be an efficient free radical scavenger thereby lowering risk of cancer particularly prostate, cervical, rectum, stomach, oesophageal and breast cancers.

o Lycopene disallows serum lipid oxidation fighting atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Regular tomato intake lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

o Tomatoes are known for their cleansing properties, preventing constipation and ensuring clearance of toxins from the gut.

o Tomatoes have a clear role in reducing rate of urinary tract infections and bladder cancers.

o Tomatoes are anti-aging slowing down age related macular degeneration and supporting healthy vision as also improving the health of skin, hair, teeth and bones.

Nutritional Improvements

Nutritional value of the tomato sabji can be augmented by-

• Use of some fresh low fat paneer (cottage cheese) to enhance the protein content.

• Similarly use of tofu cubes or soya chunks that provide not only protein but are associated with anti-cancer, anti-osteoporosis and cardioprotective, cholesterol lowering benefits.

• Use of some cooked lentils or even Bengal gram or chickpea flour adds protein and texture to the gravy apart from increasing vitamin, mineral and fibre value.

• Addition of a generous amount of fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro) leaves not only increase the fibre, folate, Vitamin A, C and K levels but also provide mineral increments like potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron. A good source of phytonutrients and phenolic flavanoid antioxidants like quercetin and subtle yet potent essential oils that have analgesic, antiseptic carminative and stimulant properties.

• Roasted pumpkin seeds may add the missing crunch to the tomato sabji and is a good source of instant energy (~ 559 calories per 100 g). In addition, these are packed with fiber, minerals, vitamins and several health promoting antioxidants. They are high in protein and fats, like the monounsaturated fats that help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and elevate good cholesterol (HDL). Also containing B-vitamins and Vitamin E and folates and several minerals, especially manganese that plays an active role in resisting infections and scavenging free radicals as part of the Manganese superoxide dismutase antioxidant complex.