Southern Indian Tomato Pickle

By George Sabatino


4 each medium sized heirloom tomatoes (room temp), cored, sliced into wedges

3 tablespoons kosher salt

cups canola oil

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 pinch red chili flake

¼ cup shallots, peeled, sliced thin, half moons

1 2” piece ginger, fresh, peeled, grated

3 each garlic cloves, hard end removed, sliced thin

½ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

teaspoon turmeric powder

Method + Assembly

  1. Arrange the cut tomatoes in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Please do not pile them on top of each other, treat them with care. Season them with half of the kosher salt.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium high flame and add mustard seed, fennel seed and chili flake, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, stirring the entire time.
  3. Add the shallot and saute until softened, but not colored, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger, stir well and cook for another 30 seconds. 
  5. Remove pot from the heat and stir in vinegar, honey, turmeric powder and season with remaining salt.
  6. Pour the contents of the pot over sliced tomatoes, stir lightly, allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  7. Serve immediately as a side dish or a garnish to grilled meat, chicken or fish.
  8. Any leftover tomato pickle can be refrigerated overnight and turned into “Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette”, recipe to follow.

George Sabatino is a Philadelphia chef who is dedicating his career to developing vegetable focused dishes, with special attention to sourcing locally and treating all ingredients (and their journeys from farm to table) with respect and purpose.