My friend and next town over neighbor Rose from Magpie’s Recipes is leaving the Bay Area and moving back to India next week. We met at a Bay Area food blogger’s lunch and soon made plans to meet at our local farmer’s market. A few weeks later we spent the morning marketing (mostly tasting different kinds of plums!) and then cooked lunch together at my house last Summer making both this spicy cherry tomato rice and an easy small batch of spiced plum preserves.
I’ve been holding on to both the photos of Rose’s tomato rice and her recipe for months, at least since last year’s plum and end of tomato season. Time passes too quickly for me and I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to share this wonderful plate of spicy cherry tomato rice with you.
Rose is originally from Kerala in South India but has traveled and lived all over the world. Rose aka Magpie brings her love of spices with her on all her global adventures as well as actual spices from home which she generously shares with her friends. Her grandparents and uncles are farmers and entrepreneurs in India who grow rice, coconut, cashew nuts, bananas, cardamom, nutmeg, rubber, pine apples, pepper, kokum and mangosteen. Yes, I had to look up kokum…a small round fruit that tastes both sweet and salty. Garcinia indica…a plant in the mangosteen family that bears fruit for culinary, pharmaceutical and industrial uses.
I don’t know if this is the right time to mention it, but I did grow the little cherry tomatoes and sprigs of Thai basil we used on the tomato rice!
The last time I met Rose was with Gina at the San Rafael farmer’s market, she gave me a bag of cardamom and a lovely scarf that I will always cherish. When I reach for those cardamom pods, which I do for baking, I will think about Rose and her sister as young girls being chased by geese at their family’s farm in Kerala, South India and how important it is to seize the moment especially making time with friends a priority…because you just never know..with very short notice.. they might move to the other side of the world!
I’m excited for Rose’s move back to India as she will be closer to her family. But soon I will be missing a friend who will be living on the other side of the world…and with my thoughts about Rose and her move next week.. I can’t think of a better time to share one of her delicious recipes with everyone. Rose is such a fantastic cook and her blog is filled with so many beautiful pictures and unique delicious recipes-I can’t wait to see what she shares from her new home in India.
Recipe from Rose of Magpie's Recipes.
- for tomato masala
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion,chopped
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon garam masala-we used Penzeys from my spices
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2-3 large tomatoes, chopped fine
- for spicy cherry tomato rice
- 1 basket cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- Sprigs of Thai basil
- 2-3 cups cooked basmati rice
- Heat oil in skillet, add mustard and cumin seeds.
- When the mustard starts to pop and cumin seeds splutter and turn light brown, add the garlic and cloves.
- Stir occasionally and when the garlic starts to brown add the onion.
- Stir the onion until it turns translucent and starts to brown.
- Add the gram masala and chili powder, stir for a minute.
- Add the tomatoes and stir occasionally until the tomatoes turn mushy and have cooked down into a thick mass, this will take several minutes.
- This is a basic tomato masala recipe to which you can:
- Add the cherry tomatoes, sprigs of Thai basil and serve mixed with cooked rice.
- Options from Rose
- Add hard boiled eggs and simmer for 10 minutes to make egg curry.
- Add peas and small amount of water, simmer covered for a few minutes to make peas masala curry.
- Add pan roasted chicken and simmer to make chicken curry
- Add cooked lentils and simmer to make lentil curries.