A couple of weeks ago, Keith and I had the pleasure to eat some authentic Indian food at the home of friends Harshad and Smita.  The food was prepared by Smita and her mother in law who is currently visiting the States.  So naturally, we had to take advantage of her expertise and invited ourselves over to their place.  Our meals consisted of:  yellow lentil daal, chole (chick peas), palak paneer (spinach and cheese), vegetable jalfrezi, mango pulp, and tomato bhaji.  We also had some naan, poori, and bay laurel scented basmati rice. 

My favorite dish was the tomato bhaji.  I could just eat it everyday.  Smita was kind enough to share the recipe with everyone.


Tomato Bhaji


  • 2 medium sized tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1/2 c. onions (cubed)
  • 1 t. oil
  • 1/4 t.  cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1/8 t. turmeric powder
  • 2-3 pieces curry leaves
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 1/2 t. ginger paste
  • 1 t. sugar or jaggery
  • 3 T. crushed peanuts
  • salt
  • cilantro

Heat the oil in a pan and let it get really hot.  Then add the cumin, asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves, green chilies. Add ginger paste and sautee for a few seconds.  Proceed with the onions and cook until transluscent.  Add the tomatoes and cooked on a lower heat (medium).  When the tomatoes are cooked halfway, add the salt, sugar/jaggery, and crushed nuts.  Cook for about a minute more and it’s finished.  Garnish with a little cilantro.

The meal was so delicious that I had to go back for a second plate.  Unlike the food served in typical Indian restaurants, I found these home-made dishes to be lighter, less fatty, but definitely not lacking in flavor (but then again maybe I was just looking for an excuse for that second plate).  The only thing I would like for next time would be a little more heat 🙂  I like Indian food to be hot enough that it makes my eyes tear up a little or to induce a little sweat on my forehead.  The meal ended with some gulab jamun perfumed with cardamon pods and saffron.  If you must know, I had three pieces and took home 8 more!  I’m not telling how long they lasted in our house. 


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