- Prices of Tomatoes has skyrocketed to rupees 100 a kg
- The rise in price is attributed to crop damage in crop producing states
- Here are alternative you can use instead of tomatoes
Tomatoes play a crucial part in Indian cooking, being consumed in myriad ways, from salads and curries to soups and juices. The inflated prices are toppling the budgets of several households in Delhi and its neighbouring cities. So is it time to do away with tomatoes completely? Not really. There are other ingredients that can double up as a substitute to tomatoes in terms of flavour and colour (at least till the prices of tomatoes are back to suiting our budgets).
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, says, "We all need to look into some long term solutions. For instance, we only cultivate red tomatoes in India whereas there are various other species of tomatoes available like green tomato, Greek tomatoes and pomato. Proper discretion in the storage and handling is also long due; a huge quantity of tomatoes is wasted due to mishandling and lack of proper storage facilities. Another solution can be preserving the tomatoes. This can be done by freezing them."
He adds, "Short term substitutes can be elephant apple paste, it is almost same in flavour but doesn't add colour like tomatoes do. Other than this, tamarind can be used for the tangy flavour, but in limited quantity as it tends to discolour the dishes. Rose and hibiscus flowers can be used for colour"
Chef Subhankar Sengupta from Sodexo India suggests, "For the sour flavour, you can use sour curd, vinegar and raw mango powder(amchur), but these wouldn't give you the rich red colour you associate with tomatoes. To get the colour you can use the paste of red bell pepper; it will take you close to the hue."
Try these alternatives for tomatoes so that you don't have to miss out on your favorite tarty flavour -
1. Tamarind concentrate: Can work as a great substitute for tomato in a few recipes for its acerbic flavour.
2. Roasted Bell Peppers: Roasted bell peppers in the paste form will give the strong scarlet colour we commonly associate with tomato-based dishes.
3. Hibiscus Flower: Another ingredient that can replace your tomatoes is Hibiscus flower. The rich reddish-pink flower offers an excellent red colour to the dishes.
4. Vinegar: For the distinct sour and tarty flavour there can't be a better bet than vinegar after tomatoes. The anti-bacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can boost your immune system and help fight against intestinal infection and constipation, ensuring proper digestion.
5. Elephant Apple (Chulta): Commonly referred to as Chulta, the green fruit is cultivated in great numbers in the eastern part of the country, Bangladesh and Malaysia. The ingredient is commonly used in Assamese and Bengali cooking for its distinct flavour.
6. Sour Curd: The tarty and tingling sour curd can add to the rich flavour of your curries.