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  • Writer's pictureJyothi Varne

Bharwan Tamatar -Stuffed Tomatoes in a rich gravy

The colour red has a strong significance in any Indian's life - signifying prosperity, marital hood, love, festivity, positiveness and celebrations. From a food standpoint - it's any photographer's delight, as it adds in a contrasting background and vibrancy to the dish.

The humble tomato or tamatar is a critical ingredient in any gravy/curry when it comes to Indian preparations. It has many characteristics, ranging from sour, tangy to sweetness. Making it a versatile ingredient that has its usage across cuisines spanning the globe - pizzas, sauces, pies, pasta, BBQ & more.

But then , there is something unique about stuffed tomatoes, that makes this ingredient a star and an absolute delight on the palette. Yep, I am talking about the bharwan tamatar ki sabji. Although the prep work for this gravy might seem tedious. But trust me, it's worth all the effort - one being the taste that will woo anybody, secondly the eye candy presentation that even a novice can conjure with this pretty little thing.

Have a look for yourself!! Ain't she a beauty?

Now make sure the tomatoes that you use for this dish are semi ripe, not too raw/sour or overly soft and fleshy. Since the dish demands these red beauties to be cooked twice and the flesh needs to support the stuffing, without turning into a crumbling wall of disaster. The secret ingredient that adds richness to the stuffing along with the finger licking gravy is Mava/Khova. We generally make this for special ocassions at home and it pairs well with Naan or a simple peas pulav. If paneer and mava are not your thing - you can also fill this up with a minced mutton stuffing, used in my Kheema samosa recipe and garnish it with some cheese. The gravy can remain the same though.

Here's what you need to make - Stuffed Tomatoes in a rich Cashew gravy INGREDIENTS: Serves - 2 Cooking time - 30mins For the gravy/masala 1 large tomato - chopped 1 medium sized onion - chopped 1/2 cup - Cashews 1/2 tbsp - Ginger Garlic paste For the stuffing 1 large potato - boiled & smashed to a smooth consistency 1/2 tsp - Garam Masala 1/4 cup - Grated Paneer 3 tbsp - Mava 1 tsp - Jeera Powder 1/2 tsp - Salt 4 Tomatoes - for the filling 2-3 Cardamon 2 - 3 Cloves 3-4 green chillies 1tsp - Coriander powder 1/2 tsp - Turmeric powder 1 tbsp - Butter 1 tbsp - Kasuri Methi 2-3 Strands - Coriander leaves Salt to taste Oil for cooking

PROCEDURE 1. In a mixing bowl, add the smashed potato, grated paneer and mava - mix well, till all the ingredients are combined.

2. Next add the garam masala, jeera powder and a pinch of salt - mix well by using your fingers to form a crumbly paste.

3. Prepare the tomatoes by scooping out the pulp and slightly cut the base, so that the tomatoes can be placed straight.

4. Fill the tomatoes with the Potato - paneer stuffing, until the brim

5. Heat some butter in a kadai and cook the tomatoes for 3-4 mins on a medium flame.

6. Meanwhile, start prepping the gravy's base by frying chopped onion, ginger garlic paste and tomatoes.

7. Once the tomatoes turn slightly mushy and the onions are golden brown, add the cashews and cook for 5 mins on a low flame.

8. Cool the mixture and grind it to a fine paste.

9. In another kadai/ pan - heat some oil and add chopped green chillies, elaichi and cloves.

10. Next add the ground cashew - onion paste, cook till the raw smell disappears. Remember to stir constantly, else the mixture will stick to the bottom of the pan. Since the gravy has cashew it tends to thicken faster, you may add half a cup of water to avoid the mixture from burning OR add more basis the desired consistency for your gravy.

11. Once the gravy is cooked, oil starts to separate, add in the dry spice powders - Kashmiri Red chilli, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt to taste.

12. Ensure that the tomatoes are cooked all through, prior to placing them in the gravy.

13. Place the tomatoes in the gravy like this - ensure the flame is turned to low or medium simmer.

14. Sprinkle coriander leaves, kasuri methi and grated paneer. Cooked with a closed lid on a low flame for 5-6 mins. Do Not Stir.

15. Dish out hot.

I personally prefer having this gravy with plain rice/ peas pulav. But it also pairs well with rotis, naan and rumalis.

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