Tomato Paste and Gooseberry Paste ~ Preserve with Kameswari Kunapuli

by on October 15, 2017

Every year, when tomatoes are in season and cheap, Kameswariji makes this sundried tomato paste. It requires no cooking, yet stays good for a year without refrigeration. She adds a ladle of this paste to sambar, chaaru (rasam), or even soups and side dishes—1 tbsp of this tomato paste is the perfect substitute for one large, fresh tomato.
Tomato Paste


  • Tomatoes: 1 kg; washed and chopped
  • Tamarind: ¼ kg; deseeded and broken into small bits
  • Salt: ¼ kg
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp


  1. Mix tomatoes, tamarind and salt. Press them in a jar and keep overnight. The mixture will become watery.
  2. Spread this mixture in a large plate and place in the hot sun to dry. Take it back indoors in the evening and bring it back outdoors in the morning. Within 3-4 days, it will be ready.
  3. Grind this mixture into a fine paste and preserve in a dry and clean jar.
  4. Instead of the lid, cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth so air will pass through and it will not spoil.

Here’s a recipe for tomato pachchadi (chutney) with this paste.

  1. Heat 1 tsp oil; add mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and 2 sliced onions.
  2. Add 2-4 red chillies or chilli powder and sauté for a while.
  3. Switch off the flame. Add ½ tsp roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds.
  4. Grind along with ¾ cup of the tomato paste and a fistful of coriander seeds, adding very little water.
  5. If you like thinner chutney, you can add more water.
  6. Serve as an accompaniment to idlis, dosas or steamed rice.



A good source of Vitamin C, gooseberry has many health benefits. This paste can be prepared whenever gooseberries are in season and preserved for months.


  • Gooseberries: 1 kg
  • Salt: ¼ kg
  • Lemons: 4; large
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp


  1. Wash the gooseberries and wipe them dry. Spread on a clean cloth and leave them for an hour so they dry completely.
  2. Pound them lightly and press them down in a jar. Allow to stay in the jar for 2-3 days until the gooseberries turn soft.
  3. Transfer to a broad vessel and press the gooseberries lightly to discard the seeds. (You can also cut the gooseberries into small pieces and discard the seeds before putting them into the jar.)
  4. Add the salt, turmeric powder and juice of the lemons. Mix well.
  5. Transfer to a clean, dry jar and preserve in a cool, dry place. Do not place an airtight lid over it. Instead, cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth so air will pass through and the paste will not spoil.

Note: This gooseberry paste tends to blacken over time. Yet the taste stays good for a year without refrigeration. Once in a while, you can remove the top layer and discard it.
Here’s a recipe for healthy usirikaya pachchadi (gooseberry chutney) with this paste.

  1. Pound 2 green chillies and a fistful of coriander leaves; mix with ½ cup gooseberry paste.
  2. Add ½ tsp of roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds.
  3. Add a garnishing of mustard seeds and asafoetida powder in 1 tsp hot oil.
  4. Serve this chutney as an accompaniment to a meal; you can also mix it with steamed rice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Health tip: Every morning, Kameswariji takes a teaspoon of this paste with a teaspoon of honey for its health benefits. However, those with hypertension must avoid it as it has salt. Instead, they can make a gooseberry preserve by grating the gooseberries, adding sugar and cooking them into a jam-like consistency. This can be consumed every morning.
Leftover tip: This gooseberry paste is ideal for scrubbing brass items and making them shine. Whenever the paste turns blackish over time, Kameswariji makes a fresh batch and uses the old paste for polishing her brass items.
Photo Courtesy: Harmony Magazine

Part-1 of this post is the interview with Kameswari Kunapuli, an ideal homemaker from Hyderabad.
First published in ‘Heart to Hearth’ – a column in Harmony Celebrate Age, a magazine about silvers.


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