Indian-Inspired Pickled Tomatoes

This recipe is straight from You Say Tomato by Joanne Weir. She made this dish in the tomato cooking class I took 14 years ago, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since.
By | July 01, 2012

About this recipe

Two warnings: 

First, this is not an attractive dish. The tomatoes are dark and murky-looking in the serving bowl and I have never had anyone look at them and say “Oh, I have to try these.” Even my most adventurous food friends have looked askance at me when I put these out.

But after a little coaxing from me, people swoon after the first bite and the bowl is always empty at the end of the dinner. Second, no stain-remover on the market is able to work magic if this gets on your favorite tablecloth or shirt. I feel it is only fair to warn people about that, but they are so delicious I don’t care anymore if I have permanent yellow stains on everything!

You can eat these immediately, but they are best when they have sat in the fridge for a few days for the flavors to fully develop.


  1. Place the tomatoes, onion and chilies in a serving bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the peppercorns, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and paprika.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil until it is almost smoking. Add the spice mixture and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour this mixture over the tomato mixture and stir together.
  4. In the same saucepan, bring the vinegars, salt and sugar to a boil over high heat. Immediately pour the vinegar mixture over the tomatoes. Stir together. Cool to room temperature before serving, or allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days for best flavor. These keep for a week or more in the refrigerator.


  • 8 large plum or Roma-type tomatoes (ripe, but still very firm), cored and quartered (peeled if you prefer)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 Jalapeño or Serrano peppers, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • ⅓ cup grated fresh ginger
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (I have only used sweet paprika, but smoked or hot paprika would be very good)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons coarse salt
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
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