Tomatoes choka is a dish in its own right but if I had to describe it to a non-Trini, I would say that it is akin to a roasted tomato salsa. This stuff is amazing as a side dish to your roti or curries. It is a really simple dish using basic everyday ingredients that you find in your fridge, but the end result is super yummy! Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) so this proves great tasting isn’t always all that bad for you!
In the traditional version of tomatoes choka, you heat up about a tablespoon of oil at the very end and add it to the dish. Now, you can most certainly do that if you wish to, but come on, do you really need that extra bit of oil? I don’t!
8 medium tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
1 medium onion (unpeeled)
1 hot pepper
1 tablespoon chadon beni/culantro/cilantro finely chopped
salt to taste.
So this is the lazy girl’s method for easy-peasy cleanup, because I guarantee you that if you go the really old fashioned route, you will be scrubbing your stove top for a while later, and frankly, who needs that kind of work?
You can either roast your ingredients on a (gas) stove top or in the oven.
Stove Top Method
1. Cut a piece of foil, (roughly 14 inches), fold it in half and place it on your stove top.
2. Place 4 of the tomatoes on the foil and turn on the stove to a medium-low setting.
3. Let the tomatoes slowly roast, turning as you go. The slower you go, the sweeter the payoff. 😉 Charring on the outside is good. Of course you don’t want burnt tomatoes, so please monitor as you go. You want to roast them until the tomatoes are nice and tender.
4. Repeat the process for the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the chadon beni/cilantro.
1. Set your oven to broil – 500 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Place all the ingredients – with the exception of the chadon beni/cilantro – on a roasting tray.
3. Place the tray in the oven.
4. Broil until the top of the tomatoes are a medium brown colour.
5. Remove from the oven and flip over all ingredients.
6. Place the tray back into the oven and continue broiling until the tomatoes are tender.
Now that your ingredients are all roasted:
1. Remove the skins from your onion and garlic.
2. Add ALL the ingredients to a blender and pulse a few time.
3. Empty into a bowl, add salt to taste and enjoy.
If you don’t like the blender method, get out your pestle or whatever poundy thing you own!
1. Cut your onion into thin slices (after you’ve peeled it of course.)
2. Toss the onion, chandon beni, pepper and cilantro into a bowl and give it a bit of a pounding. Did I mention that this is a great stress reliever?
3. In a separate bowl, pound the daylights out of each tomato, one at a time, until you have the consistency of a puree. As you have finished each one, add it to the bowl with the onions and garlic and move on to the next until you have finished the last tomato.
4. Add salt, mix everything up and have fun eating it!