Categorized |Vegetarian

Simple, but very tasty tomato choka recipe.

trini-tomato-chokaAs kids growing up we (brother and sisters) went to school in “town”, which meant leaving home very early as it was a fairly long drive every morning. This usually meant a quick breakfast that we could grab and go. But on the weekend it was a different story. Yes, we still had to wake early and get chores done if we wanted to be on the good side of our mom for the day, but she would spoil us with some hearty food for breakfast. One of my favorite things to eat on the weekend was tomato choka and roti. My mom is tops when it comes to making roti, something I still have to learn to make. But her tomato choka was phenomenal.

She still makes a mean choka, but I do find myself craving my own simple version.

You’ll need…

3 medium to large ripe tomatoes (leave on your kitchen counter to really ripe)

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 of a small onion (depends on how much you like onions)

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 hot pepper (to control the heat, don’t use the seeds)

Note: There are several ways you can prepare the tomato for this recipe, but in this version we’ll use the grill. You can also boil in water, place in the microwave on high for a few minutes, roast in your oven or roast in a frying pan on your stove top. If you’d like more info on any of these other methods, leave me a comment or use the contact link above to send me a message.

Wash and remove the stems from the tomato, then place on grill (BBQ). Try to keep the temperature set at about 400C and rotate a couple times to cook evenly. Try not to play with them as they cook as they are delicate and can crush and be of no use to you. I also roast my pepper for a couple minutes as well. Don’t ask me why… it’s just the way I saw my mom do it.



In a bowl add the garlic (slice to make this step easier), salt,  hot pepper and get a pestle or something to crush everything with. The salt will assist in breaking things down since it’s abrasive.


With a little bit of force, try to crush everything into a paste.


After about 10-15 minutes on the grill, remove the tomato. It will look charred and you’ll almost think you’ve ruined it. Nope.. that just brings out the natural sugars in the tomato and it’s exactly what we’re looking for. The burnt skin should easily fall off.. try to remove as much as you can. Then add the tomatoes to the bowl with the already crushed garlic and pepper.


Crush everything into a nice thick sauce. the tomato will let out a bit of liquid (depends on the variety of tomato you use). You’ll probably find that around the stem area of the tomato will be a bit tough to crush. You can remove that from the bowl.


Final steps…

Slice the onion very thin and place on top of the now crushed mixture. Then in a small frying pan, put the olive oil to heat on high. In a couple minutes you’ll start seeing the oil starting to smoke. Try not to keep it on the heat fro much longer as olive oil cannot withstand too much heat. Take the oil over to the bowl and gently (be careful for oil splatters) pour onto the onions. Act fast – stir the entire lot around so the crushed garlic, the salt, pepper, roasted tomato puree and the onions get’s mixed evenly. You’re done!


TIP : I try to use a “sweet” onion instead of a normal cooking onion so it’s not as bitter when eating. In the past I’ve also roasted the garlic before crushing but I’ve found that I missed that true garlic flavor that I grew up with.

Overall a very simple, but tasty side dish that’s just perfect for roti or worst case.. pita!

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68 Responses to “Simple, but very tasty tomato choka recipe.”

  1. Lara says:

    Chris how are you? Please include the microwave or oven versions. Many of my trini students live in dorms and they do not have access to grills, cast iron skillets etc. Perhaps creating a link to all your recipes as student’s survival skills.
    Thank you in advance

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. For this recipe you have 2 options. Microwave – cut the tomatoes – just a small X (so they don’t explode), place in a bowl and microwave for about 4-6 minutes (depends on how big they are. If you have the ability to boil water in a pot, place the tomatoes (again cut an X) and boil for about 3-5 minutes. Then crush and do as you would normally do choka.

  2. Felicity says:

    we have this food in Ghana and goes well with sweet potatoes, yam and some local dishes.

  3. Sterling S Mohammed says:

    Hello Chris I really enjoy your recipes.When fellas liming in Trinidad,we skewer on Cutlass Wire the Tomato, Onion,Garlic,Ochro,Hot Pepper and roast over an open fire.When thoroughly roasted,we then place all in a bowl,mash them together and mix. Olive oil is heated and poured over this and mixed again.The Purists will deny this being a Tomato Choka but when fellas liming,any thing goes.And it tastes real good.

  4. Pat says:

    The word is chownkay

  5. Pat says:

    If you chow may the sauce with olive oil and genera, it will enhance the taste

  6. Michelle says:

    I’m really interested in your book & love the recipes in them but I’m unable to contribute to your site @ this time as I am currently a student @ college and without a job. I am just unable @ this point in time.

    My sincere apologies.

  7. Simple recipe tried before without roasting the tomatoes.Delicious with Sada roti.

    • kenny says:

      Pat when I am pressed for time. I would use a can of diced tomatoe in the can. Add onions and peppers and then chonkay it.

  8. Rachel says:

    Hey Chris enjoyed this receipe but I too like cook my onions just a bit before adding them in.

  9. Lyn says:

    Hi, I’m interested in the microwave method, u know trinis like fast ting….lol. How do you do it?

  10. Julia says:

    Oh how I miss my moms bake and choka!!! Breakfast on the weekends as a kid were the best!

  11. joanne savary says:

    love this.. thank you

  12. Glenise says:

    Traditional is easier than I expected I usually throw everything in the pot! I mix mine with fried okra its amazing combination!

  13. Marion says:

    Hi chris it good to know different ways of cooking what I usually do is sautee the onions then add the tomatoes and my other ingredients and let it fry for a few seconds I will surely try roasting first next time

    . Thank you

  14. Chef Joe says:

    Hey Chris, its nice seeing your recipes and inspiring me to cook these Carib dishes.
    Im an Italian chef married to a Trini and sometimes love to make fusion Italian /Caribbean dishes like your choka with fresh basil and instead of roti make it with brushetta (toasted bread). Nice!
    Keep me going!
    Chef Joe @ My Kitchen Restaurant

  15. Tricia says:

    Wonderful and simple recipe goes great with thin sada roti.


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