Gingered tomato sauce
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried red chilies
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, or 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Combine the ginger, chilies, garam masala, fennel seeds and water in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Heat the ghee or olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat and add the spice mixture. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until a thick paste separates from the oil, up to 10 minutes.
Raise the heat, add the tomatoes, and bring to a boil, being careful of splattering. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro if preferred.
Makes about 3 generous cups of sauce.
Gingered Tomato Sauce
Despite the Indian origin of the chonk or oil-fried spice seasoning in this very simple tomato sauce from Yamuna Devi's Vegetarian Table, it makes a beautiful and versatile deep-flavoured pizza or pasta sauce as well. After making a batch as a base for an Indian dal the other day, I had plenty left over to mix with some mushrooms for a perfect pasta dish the next day. Use a can of crushed tomatoes for a smooth sauce or 4 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes for a chunkier version.