Tomato Chokha

  • Post last modified:April 29, 2022
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Tomato Chokha or Bharata is a simple, zestful, smoky relish, made with fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, and mustard oil. Sweet and savory condiment traditionally, served with Litti, a stuffed roasted dough ball. This dish is vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat.

 

tomato chokha

 

 

TOMATO CHOKHA

Tomato chokha or Bharta is a smoky relish made with fire-roasted tomatoes, some herbs, and mustard oil. It is traditional, served with Litti, a stuffed roasted dough ball.

Litti-chokha is a popular dish in North Indian cuisine. Chokha is made with one or a combination of veggies. Fire-roasted veggies are mashed, flavored with some fresh herbs, and spices, and drizzled with some mustard oil, to give chokha a robust flavor.

Chokha is typically made with eggplant (baingan), potatoes (aloo), or tomatoes. I have shared recipes for Baingan Chokha and Tomato Chokha on my blog. It can also be made with a combination of veggies like Baingan aloo chokha (eggplant potato), or baingan aloo tomato chokha (eggplant potato tomato).

Pic Shown: Green Garlic Cilantro Chutney, Baingan Chokha, Tomato Chokha, Avocado Litti

 

litti chokha

 

INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATO CHOKHA

4 large tomatoes

4-6 garlic cloves

1 medium onion (optional)

1/2 inch ginger

1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt

2-3 green chili, adjust to taste

1/2 tablespoon mustard oil – For milder flavor use olive oil; Skip this if adding tempering.

A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

few mint leaves (optional)

green garlic (optional) – fresh or frozen green garlic; available in most Asian/Indian supermarkets.

freshly squeezed lemon juice, adjust to taste

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL):

1/2 tablespoon mustard oil – For milder flavor use olive oil

1 teaspoon panch puran

1/8 teaspoon asafoetida

2-3 dried whole red chili

Pic Shown: Tomato Chokha (Bharta)

 

tomato chokha

 

DIFFERENT METHODS TO ROAST VEGGIES

Start by roasting the tomatoes. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and flavors and gives them a rich velvety texture. The robust flavors of roasted tomatoes, and roasted garlic, are reflected in this simple relish.

There are different ways you can roast the tomatoes. Traditionally, tomatoes are roasted on an open fire or on a stovetop, to bring out the rustic, smoky flavors of the tomatoes. However, you can also roast the tomatoes in an oven, in an instant pot using an air-fryer lid or crisp lid, or in an air fryer.

Rinse the tomatoes well, and pat dry the tomatoes with a clean kitchen towel. Follow one of the methods discussed below to roast the veggies.

AIR FRYER | AIR FRYER LID ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need Mealthy Crisplid, tongs

IMPORTANT: Completely UNPLUG the Instant Pot unit, before proceeding with this recipe.

Using a pastry brush, grease the crispy basket with some cooking oil. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic in the crispy basket. Using a pastry brush, apply some oil over the tomatoes.

Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, arrange the tomatoes in the crispy basket. I could fit 4 large tomatoes.

Place the trivet (that comes with a crisp lid) inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the crispy basket on top of the trivet. Now place the mealthy crisp lid on top of the inner pot. Plug the crisp lid and lower the handle.

Roast the tomatoes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, check halfway through.

Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, the cooking time will vary. 

Remove the crispy basket and allow the tomatoes to cool down for a few minutes.

Pic Shown: Air Fryer Tomato Chokha

 

air fryer tomato chokha

 

OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need 9*13 inches baking sheet, tongs

I love this oven-roasted veggie, especially when I am cooking big. This method comes in so handy, not only does it saves me a ton of time but is also an easy cleanup.

Arrange the tomatoes and garlic on a 9*13 inches baking sheet. Brush the tomatoes with some oil.

Preheat the oven at BROIL or 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven. Roast the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, check halfway through.

Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, and also different ovens have different temperature settings, the cooking time will vary. 

Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and let them cool down for a few minutes. 

Pic Shown: Oven Roasted Tomatoes

 

Oven Tomato Chokha

 

STOVETOP ROASTED TOMATOES 

You will need roti jali, tongs

Place a roti jali on a stovetop. On medium heat, roast the tomatoes and garlic, until tomatoes are soft and charred.

Turn the tomatoes every few minutes for even roasting. 

Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.

Remove from heat. Let tomatoes cool down for a few minutes. 

HOW TO MAKE TOMATO CHOKHA (BHARTA)

Step by step process of making Tomato Chokha.

ROASTING TOMATOES

Using one of the methods discussed earlier, roast the tomatoes, until slightly charred.

Once the tomatoes are cool, remove the skin the tomatoes, and place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the garlic pods and add it to the bowl.

Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes to the desired consistency. I prefer a mix of small and large chunks to add texture to the chokha.

Note: You can use a handheld blender or a food processor, pulse a few times, or until desired consistency.

Next add raw onions (optional), green chili as per taste, grated ginger, green garlic (optional), and a handful of fresh cilantro. Raw onions give this relish a savory depth, green chili gives the required heat to this dish and fresh cilantro adds brightness and a nice refreshing flavor to this relish.

Lastly squeezed some fresh lemon juice, Pink Himalayan Salt, drizzle some mustard oil or olive oil. Fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness with its tangy flavor. Mustard oil adds a punch to this simple dish with its smoky, pungent flavor. If you are not a big fan of mustard oil, add some olive oil, it tastes equally good.

Pic Shown: Tomato Chokha

 

Tomato Chokha

 

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

Tempering is optional, but I think tempering adds a layer of flavoring to this simple dish. This relish is so versatile that it can be served with meat, veggies, or simple flatbread. I like to serve it with Litti

Heat some mustard oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add panch puran spice mix, dried whole red chili, and asafoetida. Turn OFF the heat. Add the tempering over tomato chokha. Mix well. 

Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve Tomato Chokha with some avocado litti, baingan chokha, and Dhaba (restaurant) style dal fry, green garlic cilantro chutney, jaggery, and some salad. YUM!!!

TIPS FOR DELICIOUS TOMATO CHOKHA (BHARTA)

Use fresh vegetables. Look for bright red in color, firm, fresh tomatoes. The outer skin of tomatoes should be firm to touch not soft.

Applying some oil to the veggies helps veggies crisps evenly. Cooking spray works just fine.

Cooking time may vary depending upon the size of the veggies. Please use timing as a guideline. Different air fryers and ovens, have different temperature settings. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Traditionally, raw mustard oil is added to the chokha for robust flavor. However, you can heat the oil and add it, works just fine. For a milder flavor, use some olive oil instead.

We like the flavor of raw onions in the chokha, however, you can also saute the onions before adding them to the chokha.

Lemon juice adds freshness and also adds a hint of tanginess to the chokha. Well, the balance of sweet and tangy relish. You can also use lime juice works just fine or some dried mango powder

Green chili adds spiciness to the chokha. You can also add some red chili powder. Adjust to taste.

Pic Shown: Tomato Chokha (Bharta)

 

tomato chokha

 

VARIATIONS TO THIS TOMATO CHOKHA

Traditionally, raw mustard oil is used for robust flavor. Some may not like the pungent flavor of mustard oil. You can heat the oil and add it to the chokha or use some olive oil for a milder flavor.

Raw onions, green garlic, and cilantro add a nice crunch and freshness to the chokha. Feel free to add as little or more depending upon your liking.

Roasted and raw garlic, both have a distinct flavor. You can use either of them. Roasted garlic adds a sweeter, milder garlic taste to the chokha. For robust flavor use raw garlic.

Roasted red bell pepper, adds a nice smoky, sweet, peppery flavor to the chokha. Roast the red bell pepper, peel the skin and discard the seeds. Chop the bell pepper and add it to the chokha.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS TANDOOR

Tandoor is an open, clay oven, used in India for baking and/or roasting purpose. Typically, veggies are roasted in the tandoor and are used to make the chokha. At home, we use the oven method for the same.

WHERE CAN I FIND GREEN GARLIC

Green garlic is available in most Asian / Indian grocery stores. You can find fresh green garlic in the produce section or frozen green garlic in the frozen vegetable section.

HOW TO SERVE TOMATO CHOKHA

Chokha can be served warm or at room temperature. Serve Tomato Chokha with some avocado litti, baingan chokha, Dhaba (restaurant-style) dal fry, green garlic cilantro chutney, jaggery, and some salad

HOW TO STORE TOMATO CHOKHA

Chokha stays fresh for 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Don’t add raw onions, green garlic, cilantro, or any other vegetable to choke if you plan on storing it. Reheat the chokha and stir in onion, green garlic, and cilantro. Enjoy!!

CAN I FREEZE TOMATO CHOKHA 

Yes, you can freeze tomato chokha for up to a month. Don’t add raw onions, green garlic, cilantro, or any other vegetable to chokha if you plan on storing it.  

Thaw the chokha overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat the chokha and stir in onion, green garlic, and cilantro. Enjoy!!

Pic Shown: Green Garlic Cilantro Chutney, Baingan Chokha, Tomato Chokha, Avocado Littil

 

litti chokha

 

 

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RELATED POSTS

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Baingan Chokha
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Green Garlic Cilantro Chutney

 

tomato chokha

TOMATO CHOKHA

Jyoti Behrani
Tomato Chokha or Bharata is a simple, zestful, smoky relish, made with fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, and mustard oil.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine Bihari, Indian

Ingredients
  

FOR TOMATO CHOKHA

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 green chili, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Few fresh mint leaves, chopped (optional)
  • 3-4 stems Garlic greens, white and greens chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 Fresh lemon juice, adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mustard or olive oil
  • salt to taste

TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

FOR GARNISH

  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the tomatoes well, pat dry the tomatoes with a clean kitchen or paper towel. Follow one of the methods discussed below to roast the veggies.

AIR FRYER ROASTED TOMATOES

  • You will need Mealthy crisplid, tongs
    IMPORTANT: Completely UNPLUG the Instant Pot unit, before proceeding with this recipe.
  • Using a pastry brush, grease the crispy basket with some cooking oil. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic in the crispy basket. Using a pastry brush, apply some oil over the tomatoes.
  • Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, arrange the tomatoes in the crispy basket. I could fit 4 large tomatoes.
  • Place the trivet (that comes with a crisp lid) inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the crispy basket on top of the trivet. Now place the mealthy crisp lid on top of the inner pot. Plug the crisp lid and lower the handle.
  • Roast the tomatoes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, check halfway through.
  • Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
    Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, the cooking time will vary. 
  • Remove the crispy basket and allow the tomatoes to cool down for a few minutes.

OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES

  • You will need 9*13 inches baking sheettongs
  • Preheat the oven at BROIL or 425 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Arrange the tomatoes and garlic on a 9*13 inches baking sheet. Brush the tomatoes with some oil.
  • Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven. Roast the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, check halfway through.
  • Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
    Note: Please use timing as a guideline. Depending upon the size of the tomatoes, and also different ovens have different temperature settings, the cooking time will vary. 
  • Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and let them cool down for a few minutes. 

STOVETOP ROASTED TOMATOES

  • You will need roti jalitongs
  • Place a roti jali on a stovetop. On medium heat, roast the tomatoes and garlic, until tomatoes are soft and charred.
  • Turn the tomatoes every few minutes for even roasting. 
  • Check if the tomatoes are done. The tomatoes will be soft and slightly charred. Insert a clean knife in the center of the tomatoes, if it goes through it without any resistance the tomatoes are cooked through. If required add a few more minutes of cooking time.
  • Remove from heat. Let tomatoes cool down for a few minutes. 

HOW TO MAKE TOMATO CHOKHA (BHARTA)

  • Using one of the methods discussed earlier, roast the tomatoes.
  • Once the tomatoes are cool, remove the skin the tomatoes, and place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the garlic pods and add it to the bowl.
  • Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes to the desired consistency. I prefer a mix of small and large chunks to add texture to the chokha.
    Note: You can use a handheld blender or a food processor, pulse a few times, or until desired consistency.
  • Next add raw onions (optional), green chili as per taste, grated ginger, green garlic (optional), and a handful of fresh cilantro.
    Some fresh lemon juice, and Pink Himalayan Salt,
  • SKIP THIS STEP IF ADDING TEMPERING – Add mustard oil or for milder flavor use olive oil, mix well.

FOR TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)

Notes

Please refer to the post for the following:
  1. Tips For Delicious Tomato Chokha (Bharta)
  2. Variations To This Tomato Chokha
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer

Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.

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KEYWORD

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