When selecting tomatoes for this dish, I like to choose a few different varieties, colours, shapes and sizes. Serve this with steamed rice or as we do in the restaurant, with a warm shredded croissant as an indulgent substitute for roti bread to mop up all the juices.
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp black mustard seeds
10 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
5 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 golden shallots, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground turmeric
400ml coconut milk (reserving 2 tbsp to finish the dish)
375g tin diced tomato
½ tin organic chickpeas, well rinsed
2 tsp tamarind paste
small handful curry leaves
8-10 whole heirloom tomatoes, skinned and quartered or sliced
2 tsp sugar
juice of ½ lime
a small handful of picked coriander leaves
1. In a hot frying pan gently toast the cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard, cardamom, cloves and star anise until fragrant.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, warm two tablespoons grapeseed oil, add the shallots and fry until golden brown. Add the toasted whole spices and fry again for about one minute, until fragrant, then add the salt and turmeric powder. Pour in 380ml coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, tamarind paste and about six curry leaves and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
3. When cooked, cool the curry to room temperature. Using an upright blender, puree the curry to a smooth puree. The spices will still be quite large at this stage so you will need to strain the liquid through a fine sieve.
4. To serve, reheat the curry sauce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning, and add a little more salt if needed.
5. Add the prepared fresh tomatoes, chickpeas and about 12 curry leaves to the simmering sauce. Poach the tomatoes for three to five minutes in the curry sauce until soft and warmed through. Take care not to overcook the tomatoes, or they will collapse. If the sauce is reducing and thickening somewhat as the tomatoes cook, place a lid on the pan for a few minutes to stop the sauce reducing.
6. Serve the curry with a drizzle of the reserved coconut cream, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and strew the dish with the coriander leaves.