Roasted Tomato Choka is a SIMPLE dish, made from a handful of ingredients, tomatoes, onion, garlic, hot pepper (scotch bonnets are preferable but not absolutely necessary), salt, roasted cumin & oil. Don’t let the simple ingredient list fool you, the method of fire roasting the ingredients in this dish is what gives the dish it’s enormous amount of flavor. As a kid I watched my Grammy make this dish countless times, at the time I was not really concerned with learning to cook, I just loved being close to my Grammy when she cooked. She had a grace and ease of movement in the kitchen that made her cooking seem effortless. No written recipes, no measuring cups, she cooked from her heart and you could taste it in her food. If I was there at her side when she was making Tomato Choka, she would allow me to pound the ingredients in the mortar & pestle (she had a well-seasoned mortar & pestle which I unfortunately did not inherit) and I would be the first to know when it was done cooking and was always a more than willing taste tester. Lots of times, fresh ingredients were picked from the garden then they were slow roasted on a coal pot or fireside in the back backyard.
Fast forward to today, I don’t have a coal pot or a fireside but thankfully I do have a gas range, and I tend to use a hand-held immersion blender instead of a mortar & pestle. Roasting ingredients on a stove top tends to get a bit messy, but I swear, the end results is so worth a bit of extra cleanup. Typically my Grammy served this dish with hot Sada Roti, which is outstanding. I have found it to be quite a versatile dish, I use it as a side with rice or pasta, as a dip with chips, on tacos or enchiladas. I also like it with roasted chicken or on my eggs for breakfast, or in my soups and stews.