[The sixth and last finalist in our Green Tomato Contest is Roopa - we liked the ease of this recipe and also that she used homegrown green tomatoes in her tomato and lentil stew. Voting on all six finalists will open around lunchtime today.]
This is a recipe for a South Indian dish called Thakali Masiyal. It's an original recipe I wrote based on my mom's instructions.
The green tomatoes I used were homegrown. I have (actually, had) tomato plants growing in pots on my balcony. It finally got cold and so I pulled off all my green tomatoes - mostly romas but a whole bunch of cherry and grape tomatoes, too - because obviously they were never going to get ripe.
Thakali Masiyal (Green Tomato and Lentil Stew)
5 cups water
3/4 cup dry toor dal (yellow split peas)*
4 heaping cups of chopped green and pink tomatoes (about 2.5 pounds, I think - I don't have a scale; chopped into 1/2" dice) – I used half green and half that were pinkish and not fully ripe)
1-2 small green chilies, ribs and seeds removed and chopped - add at least one, and add the second to taste
1 cup water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon tamarind paste*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder*, optional
*all of these ingredients are available at Indian grocery stores; good supermarkets (such as Whole Foods) will probably have the Tamcon tamarind paste and the dal.
In a large stockpot, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the toor dal and turn heat down to medium-high. Cook uncovered until the dal is tender and starting to fall apart, about 30-35 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and chilies and water and cook covered for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Add the remaining ingredients and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for another 20-30 minutes – the tomatoes should be very soft and falling apart, and the mixture should be thick and brownish/red and have reduced by about 1/3.
Mix with basmati rice (about 2/3 cup dry rice will make enough cooked rice to go along with this recipe) and serve with papad.