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Cherry Tomatoes — A Big Delight

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Cocimbir, and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Cherry tomatoes are not new to the Pune market – I remember being thrilled to see them for the first time in Dorabjees about 10 years ago. It wasn’t as if I had missed them prior to this, but to see something new – especially something to add to salads did excite a salad loving foodie like me. But these little red balls are not exactly an age old vegetable – they were invented in 1973 by two Israeli scientists who were actually just experimenting with ways to slow down the rapid ripening of ordinary tomatoes in hot climates. Now of course cherry tomatoes are widely available, affordable and in currently in season.

This mini fruit is a great way to get kids and veggie haters to like vegetables — small, juicy, with no sharp tomato taste. And yes, tomatoes are actually classified in the fruit category because of developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant but for cooking purposes we can call them vegetables.

Cherry tomatoes have the same nutritional qualities as regular sized tomatoes, which are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between the antioxidant property of lycopene and bone health. They are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and K. Uncooked tomatoes also provide Vitamin E.

There is much more you can do with cherry tomatoes than popping them in a salad with cucumbers and lettuce, they can add some different texture and taste to your meals. Pasta, salads, sauces and appetizers will have a different tang. Our subjis do not taste quite right however — I tried making cauliflower subji substituting cherry tomatoes for regular tomatoes but didn’t quite like the taste(you might however). A cocimbir with cherry tomatoes is on the other hand, a treat. The delicate sweetness of the cherry tomatoes topped with our Indian tadka has a taste of its own and the bright red dish looks very pleasing on the table.

These recipes have no exact measurements. For example — you can put as many chilies as you like. If you want more garlic, cucumber, etc…go for it!

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Sauteed roasted cherry tomatoes with some garlic and basil makes a wonderful versatile sauce which can be used in pastas or toppings on baked chicken or fish – and there is hardly any cooking involved.

Add a little olive oil and crushed garlic to the tomatoes and cook uncovered in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes. Heat some olive oil and garlic in a pan and add cooked tomatoes. Add fresh basil, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes on a low flame. If the tomatoes are larger in size then cut in half before baking. Fish fillets –bake fish fillets with salt, oil and crushed garlic in the oven for 10 minutes at 200°C and top with sauce and serve.

Cherry Tomato Cocimbir

Cut tomatoes in half and equal amount of steamed sweet corn and onions. Add salt, sugar and some lemon. Give tadka of mustard seeds, geera, hing and green chilies. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Stuffed Cherry Tomato

The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese stuffing but I substituted this with a mixture of hung curds and Indian cheese — it was a hit, especially with the kids.

Slice a very thin piece off the bottom of each cherry tomato so the tomatoes will sit level on a platter. Make another slice on the other end of the tomato and scoop out the seeds inside using a melon baller or small spoon.

Sprinkle each cherry tomato with salt and pepper. Drizzle in a few drops of olive oil into each cherry tomato. Stuffed each tomato with a mixture of hung curds, salt, sugar, any grated cheese you have on hand, crushed garlic. Garnish the tops with the sliced basil. Transfer the stuffed cherry tomatoes onto a serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve. The tomatoes should the larger variety or stuffing becomes difficult.

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