There are a few foods you relate to your childhood. While growing up Tamatar ki mithi chutney was a winter delicacy as the tomatoes available in the winters were the juiciest kind packed with sweet and tart flavors. The desi (heirloom) tomatoes are the kind that are easily squished into your palms when pressed, not like the hard shell plastic like tomatoes (Roma and the likes) bred for longer shelf life available in the supermarkets these days.
Tamatar ki mithi chutney was made in bulk and was stored either in a ceramic barni or a specific bowl called as pathri in my family. Pathri is actually a bowl made of yellow sandstone of Jaisalmer, the below picture features tamatar ki mithi chutney in the same pathri I got from Jaisalmer last year.
These pathris were generally used for setting cultured yogurt or storing chutneys and condiments, each family used to have several sizes of these pathris and these were always bought from Banjara women who used to come home for selling their wares brought from Rajasthan.
Some people love this chutney with everyday dal chawal meals, some with khichdi and some use it to replace tomato ketchup too. But this tamatar ki mithi chutney is an essential condiment for an elaborate meal served thali style or even buffet style.
tomatoes 1 kg
whole dry red chilies 4-6as per taste
mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
fennel seeds 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp
nigella seeds 1/4 tsp
finely chopped ginger 1 tbsp or more
jaggery 300 gm
salt 1/42 tsp
mustard oil 2 tsp
Chop the tomatoes roughly in small chunks, no need to fine chop. Break the whole dry red chilies in two three pieces and keep aside.
Heat the oil and throw in all the seeds and the broken red chilies, wait till they get aromatic and turn brownish (take care not to burn them) add the chopped ginger, wait till they sweat and add the chopped tomatoes at once.
Add water (about 500-600 ml) and salt and cook covered for 8-10 minutes. The tomatoes should get mushy.
Add the crushed jaggery and cook to make a syrupy saucy chutney, the color will darken a bit making the chutney a bright red saucy deliciousness.
Dip your fingers in it and lick it, slurp it or dunk your parathas into it. Yummy is the word. The natural glutamates in tomatoes make this chutney so delicious it is a keeper.
Spread it on your bread to make sandwich or have it as a dessert for a change, tell me if you like it.
The chutney has amazing flavors. The heat of red chilies mingles very sharply with the deep earthy sweetness of jaggery while fennel, fenugreek and ginger are the main spicy flavors, the other things are kept subtle in my version. Accentuated fenugreek is great too if you like the methi flavor, add more fenugreek seeds if you wish.
Salt in this chutney is there just to balance the sweetness, this tamatar ki mithi chutney is a mouth watering delicacy and if you love tomatoes and chutneys and have a sweet tooth too this is for you.
Most people I know from Banaras love it with alu parathas along with plain dahi or white butter. Do try that combination sometimes.