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Tomato Saar (3)

Though tomatoes are rich in fiber and antioxidants, we get more lycopene from cooked tomatoes when compared to raw. Lycopene helps fight depression, heart disease and cancer, and gives tomatoes its bright red color. Adding fat to your meal when eating foods such as tomatoes maximizes the body’s absorption of fat-soluble phytonutrients. So, this saar (soup) with coconut ticks all the boxes. Tomatoes have an anti-inflammatory effect that protects muscles and may help athletes recover after exercise, and also helps reduce asthma. Supplements cannot replace the phytonutrients in tomatoes effectively.

Recipe Credit: Darshana Muzumdar

Serves 4 as part of a traditional Indian meal

In my childhood days, tomatoes had softer skin and were juicier and more sour than the hybrid version available these days. So you can try adding lemon juice or tamarind to increase the sourness if the tomatoes are not sour enough. Sometimes, cooking them longer also helps. And best of all is if you can get the original type grown organically.


  • 250 gms ripe tomatoes
  • 2-4 green chillies sliced
  • ¼ coconut, freshly grated
  • 2 tsp jaggery or sugar

For Tempering

  • 1 tbsp groundnut or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional)


Wash and cut the tomatoes into cubes, add a cup of water and chillies and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Add salt and jaggery or sugar to taste. Cool and blend to get a smooth consistency (optional). Grind the coconut to a very fine paste and strain to get the coconut milk. Add it to the cooked tomatoes. Heat it till it just comes to a boil. Transfer this into a serving bowl and cover it to keep it warm. While the tomatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped onions and fry till golden brown and slightly crisp. Add the asafoetida and turn off the heat. Roast for another 10 seconds or till it releases its aroma. Add this to the cooked tomato mixture. Give it a gentle stir and serve.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Use rock salt instead of refined salt.

Grind the coconut to a very fine consistency and use it without straining it.

Do not use oil. Add a little salt to the finely chopped onions and keep them aside for 15 minutes till it releases moisture and becomes soft. Transfer it to a thick bottomed steel pot and sauté it adding water if necessary till it is soft and translucent. Keep sautéing till it becomes slightly brown. The onion will not become crisp in this method. But the soup will still taste delicious because the onions have caramelized.

Use 2 soft dates or two tablespoons of sweet raisins soaked for a couple of hours instead of the sugar or jaggery. If the dates are not soft or the raisins are not soaked, cook them with the tomatoes. Blend the dates/raisins and then add them or if you are blending the tomatoes, you can blend them all together.

For crisp onions, slice onions thinly and add very little salt to them and keep aside for 15 minutes for them to release moisture. Line a baking sheet with parchment/baking paper and spread them thinly. Bake them in an oven at 180C for half an hour turning them in between so they crisp evenly. You can keep them in an airtight jar for a couple of weeks.

Heat an iron tempering ladle and add the asafoetida. Roast it for around 10 seconds or till it releases its aroma. Transfer this to the tomato mixture.

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