There are many days of the year when Jains do not eat green vegetables. Certain dishes are made during those days in Jain households which are not usually found in other communities. This is one of them. It is a favorite in our home, any day, and we end up making extra to enjoy as a tomato noodle soup.
This vegetable dish (sev tamaata nu shaak) is eaten as part of a regular Indian meal and has no garlic or onion and is gluten-free. It is perfect with whole wheat roti or gluten-free millet roti (bajra na rotla).
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (optional)
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji–optional)
- 6 curry leaves
- 8 cups diced fresh plum tomatoes (about 8-10 tomatoes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste and how sour the tomatoes are)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 to 1 ½ cups thin or thick sev (crisp besan noodles available in Indian grocery stores)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat a 2 ½ to 3 quart pot.
- In the meantime, puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. You do not want to puree them completely.
- In the heated pot, add the oil and mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping, partially cover the pot, keeping the opening away from you and add the asafetida, nigella seeds, curry leaves and then the pureed tomatoes.
- Add the salt, sugar, turmeric, and chili powder and bring the tomatoes to a simmer. Keep them simmering, almost covered so they don’t splatter and make a mess, for about 15-20 minutes. The tomatoes will turn a deeper red in color. It should reduce by a third. Cooking time varies depending on the tomatoes (some are watery, some pulpy) and the pot in which it is cooked.
- Then add the sev and switch off the heat as you give it all a good stir. Sprinkle in the cilantro and serve hot.
If you like it thicker, add more sev.
Serves 4. Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes.
My favorite shaak, along with banana shaak!