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Food & Wine

Spicy Indian potato filling enhances baked tomatoes

Photo Gitika Baveja/ Special To The Town Crier Fresh tomatoes stuffed with a spicy potato filling are tasty, nutritious and easy to prepare.

Tomatoes are a vital part of Indian cooking. We love to use them in curries, salads and soups as well as bake or grill them whole with a spicy filling.

Ideal as an accompaniment or as part of a fall brunch, Baked Tomatoes with Spicy Potato Filling are easy to prepare and can be served either warm or at room temperature.

Stuffed with a spicy potato filling, finely chopped garlic and fresh green cilantro, then drizzled with olive oil, the tomatoes look as good as they taste. The tangy filling blends perfectly with the flavor of the tomato.

Many of us are familiar with the French dish Tomatoes à la Provencale, but I give my recipe an Indian twist.

Juicy, round, vine-ripened tomatoes are ideal for this recipe. Fortunately, California has the best selection – at local grocery stores, farmers’ markets or organic markets.

You can improvise with the stuffing, using Indian cottage cheese (paneer), minced tofu, basmati rice pilaf, ground cooked meat or even a healthful quinoa salad.

Tomatoes are widely appreciated for their outstanding antioxidant content, including their rich concentration of lycopene. Lycopene, also known for antioxidant properties, enhances bone and cardiovascular health. Tomatoes also boast a low sodium content.

Gitika Baveja is author of “Indian Flavors to Savor: The Easy Home-Cooked Way.” For more information and additional recipes, visit www.flavorstosavor.com.

Baked Tomatoes with Spicy Potato Filling

• 4 small red, ripe tomatoes

• 1 cup potatoes, boiled and mashed

• 2 tablespoons onions, finely chopped

• 4-5 tablespoons tomato pulp (from scooped tomatoes)

• 1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

• 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder

• 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

• Pinch red chili powder

• Salt to taste

• Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

• 1/2 green chili, finely chopped (optional)

• 4 tablespoons olive oil

• Sprig of coriander or mint (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Wash tomatoes and wipe dry with paper towel. Cut off top slice from tomatoes and scoop pulp from inside. Set pulp aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy base pan and fry onions. When onions start to turn brown, add garlic and green chili and cook for 1 minute. Add mashed potatoes, tomato pulp, cilantro and spices and cook 1-2 minutes until mixed well.

Scoop mixture into tomatoes. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Garnish with sprig of coriander or mint.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Variation: Use the above filling in bell peppers after removing seeds.

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