When I read Cynthia’s post about The Essence of Choka, I knew I would love this recipe but never had the opportunity to make it as I cannot find cilantro in Greece. When I went to Cyprus a few weeks ago, I went to the Supermarket and bought two large bunches of cilantro and tried to take advantage of it till the very last little leaf: I made cilantro pesto, cilantro tabbouleh, lots of salads containing cilantro, black-eyed peas with cilantro and last but not least, Tomato Choka. I shall make a separate post about cilantro and include all these recipes.
I have followed Cynthia’s recipe exactly how she gave it to me with a few minor changes, by adding olive oil instead of vegetable oil and harissa, instead of hot chili. I, also, could not resist adding a lot more cilantro into the choka. As I have not tasted tomato choka elsewhere I cannot compare but I do know that we loved it and whenever I get me hands on cilantro again, this will certainly be in my list again.
I am sending this recipe to Meeta, of What’s for Lunch Honey, who is taking us to a journey to the Caribbean Islands, with her event Monthly Mingles, this month being about Caribbean Cooking. I have learned a lot of things about Caribbean food reading Cynthia’s blog. Cynthia has recently published her book “My Caribbean Cookbook – Tastes Like Home” and is giving a copy for the event.
The recipe I have prepared today is one of Cynthia’s recipes, which she was kind enough to e-mail me, more than a year ago, when she wrote her post about The Essence of Choka.
- 2 large tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of harissa
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Rub tomatoes with 1 tbsp oil, sprinkle with salt and roast until skin in charred and wrinkled.
When cool enough to handle, remove skins from tomatoes.
Add tomato pulp and drippings from the roasting pan to mortar and pestle or a bowl and mash (let the pulp have a bit of texture).
Add onion, salt and pepper to taste harissa and stir.
Heat the remain 2 tbsp oil in a pan.
Add garlic and sauté lightly.
Add tomato mixture and coriander (reserve a tablespoon) plus lemon juice and let cook gently for about 2 – 4 minutes.
Taste for enough salt and adjust if necessary. Add pepper.
Turn off heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of chopped coriander.
Serve hot with roti or whatever you’d like to have with it.