A roasted tomato dish with a deep flavor that can easily be eaten during any meal.
Sometimes there's a dish that you just all of a sudden feel for and you decide you just must make it. It doesn't happen often, but when that urge strikes it's to just get it made. That was me with this tomato choka this week. I ignored the first urge when it passed but the second time, when I actually felt like I was smelling it in my kitchen, I had to get it done. I was having too many signs.
Roasted tomato, with onions, garlic and pepper emits a deep smell that makes you just want to gobble through it so quickly. And I did just that.
Do you know of cooking method called "choka"? Choka is basically roasting a vegetable so that it gets this deep, roasted flavor. The best choka is done on an open flame which gives it this nice charred flavor. We popularly roast tomatoes and baigan (melongene or eggplant) in the Caribbean.
Choka is pretty easy to make and it uses a few ingredients. Cooking it just smells amazing and just reminds me of how flavorful our food is.
I don't have access to an open flame so I do mine in the oven. I simply put the tomatoes on some foil and bake them for about 25 minutes, or until the skin is wilted. Wilting takes a little longer if the tomatoes are firm, or kind of green. So when you are looking for tomatoes I do suggest using riper ones. I think it emits more juice too.
It will be so easy to remove the skin when this is done. You just need a fork to easily pull away the skin and cut the head off. Add the tomatoes to a bowl and crush with the fork and remove the hard parts of the core that may be in there. I suggest doing this process in the bowl so that you get to save all the juices versus trying to remove the inside on the baking sheet and loose some juice.
And that was all the hard work there.
This is another recipe you adjust to taste as it relates to pepper. By now you would realize I am a mild pepper person. Every time I say to someone, "I don't really like my food hot" they threaten to take take away my passport. "You from the Caribbean and don't like hot pepper". NO!! It is not a requirement on my birth certificate. Lol
So if you want a choka with a little more heat, you are free to leave the seeds in and/or add more pepper. But I much rather a slight hint of heat so that it doesn't over power the tomato flavor.
What do we eat choka with? It is very common to have it with saada roti (which is like a bread) with choka. This is normally the breakfast version. It is also eaten alongside some curry chicken and roti.
I am being a little unconventional and paired it with some grilled cheese. And it was amazing. It's almost like tomato soup with grilled cheese but with a chunky, heavily flavored soup.
Did I mention how intense the taste is?
You definitely need to try this choka.
yield: Serves 2
A flavorful tomato choka made from roasted tomatoes combined with onion, garlic and hot peppers and unconventionally paired with grilled cheese on a sourdough bread.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 40 mins
- 6 medium to large tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 hot peppers
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 a medium onion thinly sliced
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Place tomatoes on foiled baking sheet
- Bake for 25 minutes
- Bake hot peppers in foil for 10 minutes
- Mash sliced garlic, salt and hot peppers together
- Peel tomatoes cutting off the top
- Add tomatoes to mashed spices
- Mash to desired consistency
- Add onions to tomato mixture
- Heat oil to just starting to smoke
- Add oil to tomato mixture and combine
Before you go check out some more Caribbean Breakfast options:
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