Visakhapatnam: Alternatives for tomatoes make way into kitchens
Consumers say that they have been experimenting with ingredients such as amla, lemon and tamarind pulp to match the sour flavour the tomatoes offer
Visakhapatnam: As tomatoes turn much dearer, many are now looking for alternatives.
For most households, charting out a daily menu sans tomatoes is a challenging task. But with the cost of a kg of tomatoes touching Rs 68 (on Friday) in rythu bazaars and crossing Rs 100 in retail outlets, people are not as liberal in incorporating tomatoes as earlier.
Replacing large portions of tomatoes with alternatives, consumers say that they have been experimenting with ingredients such as gooseberry (amla), lemon and tamarind pulp to Match the tangy flavour the tomatoes offer. "As tomatoes turn costlier with each passing day, tomato rasam is now being replaced by amla or lemon rasam. Even for gravies, instead of using four tomatoes for the preparation, the quantity has been reduced to half and the flavour is often compensated with a dash of tamarind syrup," explains G Visalakshi, a resident of HB Colony.
While the daily consumption of tomatoes has been reduced in some of the households, a few shared tips on how the vegetable can be stored in the pureed and gravy forms and can be refrigerated for weeks. "Blanched tomatoes can be peeled, pureed and stored in a deep freezer in the form of ice cubes. They will last longer for weeks and are easy to consume when required," says J Lakshmi, a food blogger and founder of Lakshmi's Kitchen Corner.
Sharing a few more tips, M Yegna Priya, an entrepreneur says, "Sun-dried tomatoes seasoned with salt can be used for later consumption. Similarly, I keep a bottle of stir-fried tomato gravy in the refrigerator for incorporating into my daily cooking."
The crop damage caused due to incessant rains and floods in recent weeks across the states led to the drop in the supply of tomatoes in local markets. "Currently, 15 to 20 tonnes a day are arriving in the city. Most of the stocks are from Madanapalle in Chittoor and Raipur in Odisha. Earlier, we used to get 20-30 tonnes of tomatoes a day for 13 rythu bazaars in Vizag. Now, it has been reduced to 15-20 tonnes. However, the supply is meeting the demand at the moment. The situation is likely to improve in the next few weeks as the local crop will also be readied by then," says P Papa Rao, Deputy Director of Marketing Department.