Stuffed tomatoes reminds me of my mother’s kitchen, and the aromatic senses that engulfed our whole house when this delicacy was ready. The first time I ever tried to make this on my own (of course under my mom’s supervision) was around 10 years back. And I clearly remember that it took me 4 hours to make this recipe from start to the end. The time it took so many years ago etched a memory in my brain and I scarcely picked up this old recipe again. Though I must admit faintly I had always wished that from some where Maa would turn up with ready stuffed tomatoes and then we can have a sumptuous meal.
Finally yesterday, the craving to eat this delicious meal just took over all my laziness, and I made it again. It took me just half the time I had thought. Yes!! thats right. I was done in 2 or may be even 1.5 hours and I loved it.
Since I got fibromyalgia, working too long and continuous hours has been tough so I was extremely pleased with the ease and seamlessness this recipe kind of cooked itself for me yesterday. Second, I have been trying to turn vegan and this is yet another feather in the hat for vegan eating. Who says vegan is boring! Try this and you will never go down any other road again.
So here is what we need.
For the filling:
- 4 large boiled and mashed potatoes
- 1 large onion chopped finely
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- Salt to taste (I used approx. 1 tsp)
- Red chilli powder – approx. 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala powder – approx. 1/3 tsp
For the tomato shells:
- 6 large and firm tomatoes – washed, dried and with the inside scooped out carefully (save the inside of the tomatoes for the gravy)
- Oil for deep frying – approx. 2 cups
For the gravy:
- 1-2 large onion chopped
- 1 tomato chopped fine
- inside of 6 large and firm tomatoes chopped fine
- Shahi jeera (Royal cumin seeds) – 1.5 tsp
- Saunf (Fennel seeds) – 1/4 tsp
- Mangrel or Kalunji seeds – 1/4 tsp (optional)
- Bay leaves – 3
- Whole black pepper – 7
- Cooking oil – 6 tbsp
- Salt to taste (I used approx. 2 tsp)
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Degi mrich powder – 1/3 tsp
- Garam masala – 2 tsp (reduce to half if you don’t want the dish very spicy)
First start with the filling. Mash the boiled potatoes and keep aside. Take oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Fry until the onions are brown (but not burnt). At this stage, add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Add all the spices and mix well. Roast this mix on the frying pan slightly and then let the mixture cool down slightly.
Now lets create the tomato shells. Take 6 firm tomatoes, and wash them nicely. Then pat them dry. Now carefully chop the head like a cap, and don’t throw it off (for reference see the picture of finished dish. you will see that the head cap of the tomatoes is still on). Now take a knief and carefully scoop out the tomato inners. It will be slightly hard because we have chosen firm tomatoes, so be careful. If you don’t like to use the knief, you can use a spoon instead. Try not to cut through the shell, though slight (one or two) punctures through the wall are not a disaster. You are doing fine!
Now take the tomato shells and stuff them tightly with the filling. Cover with a cap. Now we shall fry these tomatoes. Do not leave the tomatoes in the oil. That will create a mess. So don’t do that.
Instead, do like this. First heat the oil in a frying wok. Take a slotted spoon (reference picture) and place a filled tomato (upside down) on the slotted spoon. Now hold this slotted spoon over the hot oil. Take a ladle in your other hand, and pour hot oil over the tomato. This will cook the tomato nicely on the outside. Keep pouring the oil until the skin comes out. Be careful and once the tomato is fried place it aside on a kitchen cloth. Do the same for all the 6 tomatoes.remove the fried skin off the tomato shells.
Finally it is gravy time. Take around 5-6 tbsp oil in a wok. when the oil is hot, add shahi zeera, saunf, bay leaves, black pepper seeds and mangrel. Then add the chopped onions and fry until the onions are golden brown. Now it is time to add the tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes look all mushy and start to leave a little oil on the sides. Then add all the spices except half of the garam masala. Mix well. Cook another 1-2 min and now transfer the tomato shells carefully into the gravy. Sprinkle the remaining garam masala on top and cover with a tight lid.
Slow cook the tomatoes on a very very low flame for approx. 20 min, and then switch off the flame. Let the tomatoes cook in the steam for another hour.
Bharwa tomatoes are ready, and can be relished with chapatis, paranthas, rice. 🙂