Without a doubt, Tomato Choka (say .. tomatoes choka) is one of the most tasty ‘simple’ dishes you’ll ever enjoy. In this case, fire roasted (boiled, oven roasted or even microwaved) tomatoes are crushed along with salt, garlic and hot peppers, then thinly sliced onions are added, before heated oil is poured over it all and mixed. I guess this would be the English Caribbean version of a salsa?
10 medium tomatoes
2 green scotch bonnet peppers (adjust to your liking)
6-8 cloves garlic
1 large onion (divided)
2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust)
Important! Please wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling such hot peppers. To control the heat a bit, you can always leave out the seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds. I used “green” scotch bonnet peppers as I much prefer the flavor and gentle heat from them.
Fire roast the tomatoes and peppers as you would normally do if making the choka the traditional way. May I recommend you gently char the peppers as it will add a lovely smoky flavor to the heat. The tomatoes will take about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of them and how direct they are over the flame. Be sure to flip them around so all sides gets cooked/charred evenly.
Place 1/2 the onion (rough chop) into the food processor, the garlic, roasted peppers (remove the stems and discard) and add the now roasted tomatoes. You can wait a few minutes to allow the tomatoes to cool as bit and remove as much of the charred skin and discard before adding to the food processor. Top with the salt and puree.
After a minute or so on high, add the cilantro (give it a rough chop first), then give the processor a few pulses and this part is complete.
Pour this puree into a large bowl and top with the remaining onion sliced as thin as you can get it. Heat the olive oil on a medium flame and as soon as you start seeing smoke, pour it over the onion. This step is called Chunkay! It’s meat to temper the onion flavor throughout the choka and take away the harsh flavor of the onion.
Give the tomato choka a good mix and serve wit hot roti, pita or top your favorite crusty bread with some and enjoy. Be sure to taste for salt and adjust accordingly, as some tomato can be very tart. This is a classic vegan dish which also happens to be gluten friendly as well.. well unless you eat it with a non gluten friendly bread. Serve warm!
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2