The first time I made turmeric pickled tomatoes, I didn’t even own a dinner table. I served an elaborate Indian feast on a blanket spread out on my living room floor.
It was one of my first real dinner parties. The menu included meat-and-veggie-stuffed samosas (recipe coming soon on All Ways Delicious!), various chutneys, curries, rice, and these turmeric pickled tomatoes. It was full of flavor and spice, and since my guests and I were all young and used to San Francisco apartment living, “floor dinner” seemed perfectly normal.
We washed the spicy food down with ice-cold gin and tonics, which in retrospect seems like a strangely colonial choice. But I digress.
My point is, that was a long time ago (wayyyyyy before turmeric was even a thing in these parts) and I’ve been dreaming about these turmeric pickled tomatoes ever since.
Turmeric is amazing (anti-inflammatory! Bright yellow! Delicious!). These turmeric pickled tomatoes burst with flavor—spicy chilies, tart apple cider vinegar, tangy lemongrass, salty and sour fermented black beans, the earthy heat of ginger, and, of course, the mustardy hit of turmeric.
The bright flavors of the pickled tomatoes are a fantastic counterpoint to crunchy, fried, meat-based dishes like samosas. Feel free to eat them at a proper dining table—or have a floor picnic!Print
I adapted this recipe from one in Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cookbook (one of my all-time faves!). Tropp adapted it from a recipe by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (there is a pickled tomato recipe in their City Cuisine cookbook). My recipe combines elements from both, adapted based on what I had in my kitchen. I love Tropp’s addition of Chinese fermented black beans in the dish, but they can be hard to find, so feel free to leave them out.
1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes
1 bunch scallions (about 6 scallions), cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 lemongrass stalk, sliced thin
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 serrano chiles, sliced thin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese fermented black beans (optional)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Toss the tomatoes and scallions together in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, and lemongrass and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
- In a separate saucepan, combine the vegetable oil, chiles, sesame oil, fermented black beans (if using), garlic, turmeric, and pepper. Heat over medium heat until the surface shimmers and the oil is very hot. REmove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Combine the oil and vinegar mixtures and immediately pour the mixture over the tomatoes and scallions in the bowl. Stir to mix well. Store the tomatoes, scallions, and the liquid in glass jars in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. They’ll keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.