In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

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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  1. Kathy
    January 20, 2021 / 11:04 pm

    Add chipped sweet onion to roasted tomatoes. Chonkay minced garlic and geera in hot olive oil. Quickly add all to choka, close lid to left flavour fill pot. Finally stir. Same with bhaigan.

  2. Yasmin Asgarali
    June 13, 2017 / 9:59 pm

    I made it almost exactly as shared, except: 1. I did not use salt and, 2. I used my handy dandy chopper rather than crushing with a mortar and pestle.

    It tastes GREAT!

    Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  3. Tali
    January 21, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Thank you for the lovely recipe. I was feeling experimental so I added 6 bok choy leaves at the last 3 minutes for more nutrients.
    It wasn’t traditional, but it was tasty!

  4. Becky
    November 3, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    How do you roast in the frying pan?

    • admin
      November 3, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      a dry pan (no oil).. low heat

  5. Geeta chankasingh
    January 16, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    This looks exactly how my family made it in Trinidad except in a clay or brick oven which we cooked in

  6. Lara
    January 25, 2015 / 11:35 am

    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
      January 25, 2015 / 2:51 pm

      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.

  7. Felicity
    January 5, 2015 / 8:35 am

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

  8. Sterling S Mohammed
    December 5, 2014 / 7:38 am

    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.

  9. October 22, 2014 / 9:50 pm

    The word is chownkay

  10. October 22, 2014 / 9:48 pm

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

  11. Michelle
    March 2, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    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.

  12. December 26, 2013 / 6:55 am

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

    • kenny
      January 7, 2015 / 8:28 am

      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.

  13. Rachel
    November 20, 2013 / 5:17 pm

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

  14. Lyn
    September 1, 2013 / 5:57 pm

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

    • kenny
      January 7, 2015 / 8:15 am

      Chonkaying makes the difference. Microwave it the same way you would do an eggplant/biagan.

  15. Julia
    August 5, 2013 / 8:29 pm

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

  16. joanne savary
    June 17, 2013 / 7:01 pm

    love this.. thank you

  17. Glenise
    May 11, 2013 / 11:05 pm

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

    • Coleen
      October 28, 2013 / 1:03 pm

      Hi Glenise. Can you share a recipe or method for the traditional way?

  18. Marion
    May 6, 2013 / 12:08 pm

    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

  19. May 5, 2013 / 9:23 am

    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

    • kenny
      January 7, 2015 / 8:18 am

      Good for you Chef Joe. But as you would know not all Trinis can cook.

  20. Tricia
    March 7, 2013 / 2:44 pm

    Wonderful and simple recipe goes great with thin sada roti.

  21. Jan Sirjusingh
    February 24, 2013 / 6:41 pm

    Hi Chris, I live in Trinidad and like your recent carnival videos. I used it to send out to all my friends overseas.
    For someone who does not own a BBQ grill, the tomatoes can be done in the toaster over, on the stove top (a bit messy but foil will protect) or in the oven.
    Best completed with hot cooking oil poured over it like all chokhas.

  22. DonnaHallelujah
    November 26, 2012 / 10:07 pm

    The Mexicans and Latins, and I… make the same thing and call it roasted tomato salsa, and use it on everything! I roast everything, and then put it all in the blender, burnt skins and all. Delicious! Salsa in Spanish just means sauce. Look how much we're all alike! 🙂

  23. SistaK
    November 6, 2012 / 4:56 am

    Love this Chris, when i made it again i added sweet potato to it mmmmm bless up our friend xxxx

  24. joan
    August 24, 2012 / 10:53 am

    Hi Chris- this tomato choka looks great i will try it sometimes i used to see my mother-in-law put geera or cumin she would burn it in the hot oil and then throw in the tomato mixture and it would make a noise but now that i see yours i will definately try it and make some style-thanks again

  25. ann
    August 23, 2012 / 11:13 am

    In Guyana this is done with eggplant and eaten with roti(bust up shut to you trinis 🙂 )…delicious!!!

  26. ionescu gabriela
    July 29, 2012 / 11:26 am

    here, in Romania,we use this choka to eat with grilled fish especially, but with pork or veal ,too.It is very
    tasty indeed.Chris, I like the way you cook.Thank you.

  27. jerson
    July 7, 2012 / 3:31 am

    wow i will try this in my dinner tonight thanks chris

  28. donna
    July 1, 2012 / 5:31 am

    This is so delicious my children loved the choka even with the hot pepper

  29. shirley
    June 22, 2012 / 9:20 am

    Thanks for another way of using tomatoes,especially when they are in abundance,will sureky try.

  30. Dee
    May 6, 2012 / 7:34 pm

    We make our tomato choka in the blender and add shadon beni

  31. Sandra
    April 18, 2012 / 3:04 pm

    Melongene choka is made much the smae way and you can mix both tomato and melongine together and have melongene /tomato choka.

  32. Clint
    February 4, 2012 / 6:58 pm

    I have also had choka with chips. I found that it is a fantastic dip. Making a bowl for Superbowl party and I have no doubt that it will be a hit.

  33. Von
    January 22, 2012 / 11:29 am

    Chris, I'm new to your blog, but I have to say I echo everyone else's comments here. One of the things I cherish the most about my Trini heritage is the cuisine. Everywhere I go people can't seem to get enough of the curry chicken, or the stew chicken and on and on….
    Today I decided to have a nice weekend breakfast and tomato choka was exactly what I needed.
    Great recipe, so simple and so delicious.

  34. Joy
    January 13, 2012 / 12:59 pm

    Thnaks, Chrsi. Can u mix this in with cooked rice and have it as a kind of tomato ketchup or put on cooked vegetables like a sauce?

  35. SteveCarterK
    December 8, 2011 / 10:36 am

    Nice one Chris . This Tomato Choka goes well with Sada Roti and I also enjoy eating it with Rice and Dahl . Thanks .

  36. tanuja
    October 13, 2011 / 6:38 pm

    Chris, this dish orignated from Bihar, in India. spelt Chokha there. we eat it with something called "liti" which flour dumplings stuffed with a spicy chick pea mixture and baked in an oven. absolutely delish.Aloo Chokha, Baingan Chokha and tamatar chokha! and the oil used is mustard oil which gives it a mean kick when paired with raw onions and minced green habaneros.

  37. Judy
    September 22, 2011 / 12:19 am

    Hi Chris,
    I am going to try this recipe over the weekend looks delicious. Thanks for sending me this recipe.

  38. lucky maraj
    July 7, 2011 / 11:34 am

    Chris next time you'r making tomato choka try adding some roasted geera ground up, that's my favorite

    • Amanda
      August 6, 2011 / 10:59 am

      Hi Lucky, adding some roasted ground geera sounds like a great idea, I will definately try that. Thank you, amanda

  39. suzanne
    June 13, 2011 / 8:59 am

    will try this tonight with chapati…

  40. May 31, 2011 / 12:01 pm

    Thanks Chris, this tomato choka recipe is great. I have tried it before. It goes well with Sada roti.

  41. Brenda
    May 27, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    Hi Chris……………hats off to you old chap. (smile). All the recipes come out so very well. Love it.
    I must try this tomato choka.

  42. dee dee
    May 5, 2011 / 9:54 pm

    When are you going to make bara. I love the way you explain things and get step by step instructions. and I can not find it any were on the web how to make it.

  43. March 15, 2011 / 6:40 pm

    not bad i like it.

  44. Becky
    February 17, 2011 / 8:51 pm

    I will try the tomato choka, though this is similar to a sauce my husband makes here in Costa Rica, but we've never roasted the tomatoes. But your mentioning roti sure got my tastebuds jumping. I used to get roti when I lived on St. Croix, and I sure do miss it.

  45. Anne M.
    February 13, 2011 / 6:34 am

    Hi Chris, my mom used to make this so incredible delicious. I forgot completely. Thanks to you I will try this again. My problem years ago was roasting the tomato. But I wil try again.
    Really delicious tomato choka. Thanks.

  46. Anika K.
    February 1, 2011 / 10:00 am

    I love tomato choka… I add a little roasted saltfish as well yummmmmm!

  47. Carlton
    January 23, 2011 / 4:14 pm

    Good recipe keep up the good job that you are doing these Trinidad dishes are so simple yet so great

  48. cintra
    October 26, 2010 / 10:39 am

    Hi Chris,
    You make me so hungry by just looking at the pictures of your dishes.I have tried a few of them…the stew chicken is one of my favourites..reminds me of my Ma's .Thanks to you I actually cook more… Trini style. I am going to try the tomato choka with sada roti on Sunday.

  49. Rita
    July 31, 2010 / 12:30 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I have tried several of your recipes. They are delicious. I find myself eating a lot of curry chicken lately. I just can't get enough of it. Thank you for sharing them with me. Rita

  50. cindy
    May 13, 2010 / 9:54 pm

    hi chris do you have a phoulourie recipe?

  51. Sophia
    April 19, 2010 / 4:29 pm

    Hi Chris, its really great you've made the 1000. The reason why your mom would roast the pepper is to have a perfect blend of the main ingredients flavors.

  52. Vee
    February 17, 2010 / 6:58 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I am American. What do you use this choka on or in?

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:18 pm

      Vee, thanks for stopping by. Choka is usually enjoyed with roti (search roti – top right). But my favourite way is as a topping for rice, especially if I have dhal (search – top right) on the side. It would work well as a dip for toasted flat breads like, pita and tortillas as well.

      happy cooking


      p.s. if you make it a bit more spicy you can use it as you would a hot sauce.. great on top of scrambled eggs.

  53. Jean
    November 23, 2009 / 9:44 am

    Chris I have to try this, brings back fond memories. And I STILL use my mortar and pestle keeping things authentic.
    Thank You.

  54. November 16, 2009 / 11:21 am

    hi chris ,a very easy way to chopup everything, throw all your ingredients int a chopster and let it all chop up for a few seconds and voila you have nice tasty tomato shoka, without tasty chunks of garlic or onion no bitter taste, it makes life easier than having to pong up as we trinis say, makelife easy use your appliances, out with old in with the new just my opinion bye for now.

  55. glasspole
    November 16, 2009 / 7:30 am

    never heard of this one. health benefits of tomato are numerous, it’s worth a try.

  56. Carl Bliss
    November 10, 2009 / 7:48 pm

    Thanks Chris,
    Although I’m not a big tomato fan, I plan to try this recipe.

  57. Fast Food Recipes
    October 9, 2009 / 5:32 pm

    Holy cow this looks good, i love roasted tomatos.

    May 20, 2009 / 7:22 am


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