Top tomato substitutes

Tomatoes are an indispensible ingredient in many of our  recipes and are used generously, but with the prices of tomatoes in India reaching a staggering Rs 100/ kg and expected to remain so at least till mid-august, we could do with some substitutes for this favourite.


Kaddu to the resucue

After years of snubbing kaddu at the dining table, the current prices of tomatoes are going to make you love them. At literally half the price and their slightly sweet taste and creamy texture, pumpkins make the best low cost substitute for tomatoes, especially in the puree form.

Just blend the pumpkins; maybe roast them before that for some more depth of flavor and a deeper colour. Add in a dash of vinegar to replicate the tartness of tomatoes. To deepen the hue (and nutrition) of your pseudo tomato puree add a roasted/raw red bell pepper, a piece of boiled beetroot, boiled carrots or all three to it. A hint of tomato ketchup can also give it that bright red colour, but will make it sweeter than regular fresh tomato puree. If you need to adjust the consistency of the puree bring it to a boil and let it reduce till it is perfect for your recipe. Keep tasting and adjusting the ratios depending upon what your recipe demands.


Tamarind for tang

Besides adding body, tomatoes lend a delicious tartness to a variety of recipes, especially in Indian cuisine. Tamarind is one of the ingredients which come closest to replicating the fresh sweet-tanginess of tomatoes. Just add a hint of it to tamarind pulp or paste to recipes like dals, curries or stir fries instead of tomatoes. You can also buy a batch of fresh tamarind and dissolve a lemon sized ball in warm water and use the extract to give your recipes a delicious tomato-y taste with actually using them.

Tomato Puree

Yours truly – Yogurt

Yogurt also comes in handy when preparing Indian style curries which have a tomato base. It provides body to the curry and the right kind of tartness – so you won’t be missing tomatoes too much. Just make sure you whisk the yogurt really well and add it towards the end of the cooking process to reduce chances of it splitting. Yogurt works especially well in recipes like biryanis, or thick curries and masalas that require tomatoes.

You can always use a pack of store bought processed tomato paste or puree, but we think these natural substitutes are a better idea. They work out much cheaper, are healthier and also making the perfect no tomato, tomato puree recipe makes for a very exciting day in the kitchen.

Epic night at Khazana!

Things I love – Family, food, music and friends. So when my good ol’ buddy Chef Montu Saini, Executive Chef at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was in Canada on a personal invitation from Canada PM Justin Trudeau, I didn’t wait to invite him to my restaurant Khazana at Brampton. Montu took it to the next level by making it an exclusive dinner for the world’s top presidential chefs! #clubdeschefsdeschefs.


The hallowed guest list:

  • Katie Brown – Executive Chef to the Prime Minister of Canada
  • Neil Dhawan – Chef to the Prime Minister of Canada
  • Cristeta Comerford – Chef to the President of USA
  • Mark Flanagan – Chef to Her Majesty, Queen of UK
  • Martin Kristoffersen – Chef to Her Majesty, Queen of Denmark
  • Taigo Lepik – Chef to the President of Republic of Estonia
  • Isto Tahvanainen – Chef to the President of Republic of Finland
  • Bernard Vaussion – Chef to the President of Republic of France
  • Maurice Alexis – Chef to the President of Gabon
  • Ulrich Kerz – Chef to the Chancellor of Germany
  • Ingimar Ingimarsson – Chef to the President of Iceland
  • Fabrizio Boca – Sous Chef, Chef to the President of Italy
  • Franck Panier – Chef to His Highness, Grand Duke of Luxemburg
  • Christian Garcia – Chef to His Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco
  • Jose Roca – Chef to the Prime Minister of Spain
  • Magnus Ake Rehbäck – Chef to His Majesty, King of Sweden


Meanwhile the franchisees, my team at the restaurant swung into action. The excitement in the air was palpable.My brief: Once in a lifetime opportunity. Nothing but the best in everything, from food and service to hospitality within the stipulated timeframe! And they delivered! From Signature dishes like Pakhtooni Barra, Harripa Paneer, Trio Tikka, Afghani Malai Tikka, Bhatti ka Murgh, Boti Tikka for starters and mains like Country Chicken a.k.a Puran Singh da Tariwala Murgh, Nalli Rogan Josh, Makhanwala Paneer and 24 Karat Dal to the perfect breads, rice dishes and exquisite desserts!


I am overwhelmed with pride, kudos to my team’s efficiency for the spectacular show. The wonderful feedback that I’ve been getting on a personal front takes me to cloud nine.


Thank you and keep up the good work! Loads of appreciation.

As for my friend Montu, you make us all proud!