Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tomato Bisi Uppinakayi - Instant Tomato Pickle


Bisi Uppinakayi literally means hot pickle or instant pickle. A spicy (duh! as if you did not know!) tongue-tickling, delicious preparation made with hing, ground mustard and roasted methi powder and  veggies. The veggies most often being tomatoes, tender goose-berries, raw mangoes or tender fresh tamarind. Hey, grab that tissue, I know that you are drooling like a baby now!! Yeah, now back to Tomato Bisi Uppinakayi.  

This is a very common dish at most Madhwa homes in North Karnataka. And of course at weddings and functions too. When we were kids, going to a family function would mean gorging on all the delicious food at the venue and carrying home some bisi-uppnakayi, rasam and the specialty sweets made by the caterers. The caterers would be people associated with the families since generations and would tell us tales about how their fathers and grand-fathers had cooked for our fathers and grand-fathers. One of these 'family' caterers had nick-named me as 'bubble-gum' , thanks to my chubby cheeks:-). He calls me the same even now!! lol!  

Some common spices you will find in Madhwa homes are methi powder, mustard powder, and  plain huli-pudi ( a mix of fenugreek seeds, coriander and jeera) apart form the regular sambar, rasam and vangi bhath powders.  This pickle makes a superb companion to hot rice or chapatis. Its very easy and quick to make specially if you have mustard powder and methi powder in your fridge. 

Read on to know how you can have this on your plate for your next meal!

Before we move on to the recipe, I would like to bore you with my two bits of knowledge on the varieties of tomatoes I know and whats best suited for this recipe.

  There are the farm tomatoes or apple or hybrid tomatoes and then there are the non-hybrid or naati or javari tomatoes. The ones on the left are the hybrid tomatoes, on the right are the naati ones. The hybrid variety is longish in shape, not very sour and is best suited  for salads, barbeques or juices. The other variety is more round in shape, quite sour and imparts a great flavor to the dish its added in. I love to use this in my rasam and sambar, sometimes omitting the tamarind pulp altogether to get the intense taste of tomato in the dish. In Bangalore, shops usually sell the hybrid tomatoes and the non-hybrid ones are sold on carts. We grew up eating only the non-hybrid ones and the farm tomatoes were an introduction to us when we grew up.

I have used a mix of both the varieties here. You can choose whatever suits your palate. I have used 2 sour tomatoes and the rest are hybrid tomatoes here. I wanted the pickle flavorful without being too sour. You can use only one variety, but you would need to alter the proportion of the red chilli powder and jaggery depending on the tartness and balance out the taste. If the tomatoes you are using lack sourness, try adding a teaspoon of thick tamarind pulp.

Try not to add more mustard powder as it will give a funny taste, more of methi powder will make the pickle bitter.

Fresh Tomatoes- 500 grams
Methi ( fenugreek seeds) Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard powder - 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
Jaggery - 1 teaspoon (Use 1/2 teaspoon if you like your pickle tart)
Hing - A generous pinch
Oil- 3 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - A few
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - To taste

Procedure: To prepare the methi powder, dry roast the methi seeds on a low flame. Roast till it emits a good aroma. Cool and powder it really fine. You will not get a fine consistency if you roast very little, its worthwhile to make about 3-4 teaspoons of it while you are at it. Keeps fresh in the fridge for about a month. 

To prepare the mustard powder, just grind the mustard seeds coarsely (no roasting needed). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 Wash and chop the tomatoes into small cubes. Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they sputter lower the heat. Add the hing, turmeric powder and the chopped tomatoes. Add about a table spoon of water, cover and cook the tomatoes on  medium heat. Cook till the tomatoes are pulpy and well cooked, adding water if needed in between. Take care not to add too much of water or the pickle will become very watery.

Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the mustard powder, methi powder, salt, jaggery and chili powder. Simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat. Take off the heat.

Now for the final touch -  Heat one tea spoon oil. Add the curry leaves and a dash of hing. Pour it over the pickle. Stir it in. Aaah!!! Make sure you have some rice or chapatis ready by this time or you may end up eating only the pickle for a meal :-))

Please Note:  This can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.


chef and her kitchen said...

Love the deep red color of the pickle....I love the naati tomatoes very much,but they are not available here in mumbai that easily..

Padmajha said...

Your post made me so nostalgic.Those family caterers like u said used to make extra pickles and stuffs for us to take home after the wedding / function and the food stuffs they prepared had a special 'something' in it!!!

Your pickle looks so tempting.I am trying this for sure..

Reshmi said...

i can even imagine its aroma...superb...loved it...such a visual treat also..

M D said...

this is lovely. tomato tokku, tomato chutneys, tomato saaru and now this tomato pickle... makes my mouth water. tempting!

Priya Suresh said...

Tongue tickling pickle; i dont bother to have some rite now..

Unknown said...

wow...Love the rich colour of your pickle...Fabulous job...:)


Anonymous said...

I can vouch for this finger-licking-good pickle! I had a very close Madhwa friend, and her mom would make this very often. And b'cos she knew I liked it, she would make a little extra for me and send it over with my friend. Or better yet, she would send word with my friend that she's made it. I would go without losing much time, and finish Aunty's pickle stock, to the last lick!! :)

I make this often, and needless to say, its a favourite at home! Goes with pretty much everything...versatility personified :)

Your pickle looks just as good as what Aunty would make! I also love the pictures in this post Suma...they're really really good!

Akila said...

my mouth is watering after seeing the fantastic clicks.......

Nandinis food said...

Yum! It's a very tangy and flavourful pickle! Slurp!

harini-jaya said...

hey awesome pics..we make the same at home (though not madhwa!)

Rookie Qookie said...

This should be great with Dosa's too..nice


Unknown said...

Wow, I am drooling just over the pic, so I can imagine how great it must have tasted.

Madhavi said...

Super super recipe..and I am ready to make this pickle right now!!

Sneha said...

YUM YUM YUM YUMMMMMM!! I loveee tomato pickles, chutneys et al!! A recipe that I can try as is - most others I have to veganize!! THANXXXX, Suma!! :0DDDDD

Btw, added your award to my Awards section!! Check it out when you can!! Thanx for that again!!

sweet artichoke said...

very tempting pickles! Would love a chapati & pickles meal :-)

Shubha said...

Hey!! nice to c this in ur blog:))

Spice said...

LOve it....first tasted it at my friends house long time back, but little diff. recipe....will try yours sometime...

Anonymous said...

This recipe is awesome. every time I make it, it turns out to be very delicious.

Unknown said...

My granny would make potato bisi uppinkayi.. by any chance do you know the measurements and the ingredients.She is no more and am trying all possible ways to get the exact taste just unable to..