spicy heirloom tomato relish and the giveaway winners


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Spicy heirloom tomato relish

There’s no better way to symbolize summer in a kitchen, than a bunch of colorful and mismatched heirloom tomatoes. They are vibrant with hot and radiant colors, it’s as if the sun got absorbed into one big juicy ball of deliciousness. Whether eaten fresh or cooked their flavors are rich and as appealing as their looks. 

Beautiful Heirloom Tomatoes

These heirlooms turned out to be perfect in my spicy relish. I’ve been looking to create a hot relish for a while that would remind me of a good Indian pickle that would be hot and sour but mildly sweet. The cider and dash of brown sugar help to enhance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and the heat of the chilies and spices. As with most Indian chutneys, pickles, and relishes, this tomato relish is fantastic with any meal.  Just a note of caution, whenever selecting tomatoes for canning, go with red or pale yellow tomatoes versus the greener ones as the greener varieties contain a toxic compound called solanin. Canning is a cooking process that concentrates flavors and compounds and using a large number of green tomatoes will increase the amount of solanin.  So please keep this in mind while preserving tomatoes by any concentration process.


I could have peeled the tomatoes before cooking them but it just didn’t feel right. I like the texture, it somehow makes the relish feel and taste even more “tomatoey” .If you want to get rid of the skin, then cut a cross or “X” mark at the bottom of each tomato, then dunk the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds and transfer the tomatoes into an ice-bath. Let them cool and the skin will come off easily when you peel. 

Heirloom tomatoes

The Siggi’s dairy giveaway is over and I chose the entries randomly using Rafflecopter on July 17, 2013. The five lucky people in no random order are…

1. Holly H.
2. Tiffany G.
3. Matt W., and
4. Jason B. 
5. Sarah M.

By now you should have received an email from me and will have 48 hours to respond or I will select another winner. Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to the kind folks at Siggi’s Dairy for sponsoring this fun and delicious giveaway! and the giveaway winners

Hot and spicy tomato relish

spicy heirloom tomato relish

yields: approximately 2 quarts


10 lb heirloom tomatoes
2 cups vegetable oil (peanut)
1 tablespoon dried red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup red onions, finely chopped
3 thai chili peppers
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
kosher sea salt

1. Wash and wipe the tomatoes dry, remove the stalks if any and dice the tomatoes into large chunks. Discard any seeds. Keep the tomatoes aside.
2. In a coffee bean grinder, grind the chili flakes, fennel, coriander, and cumin to get a coarse powder. 
3. Heat the oil on a medium high flame in a large thick bottomed saucepan. As soon as the oil begins to smoke, add the ground spices and turmeric. Stir for 15 seconds and reduce the flame to a gentle simmer. If the spices begin to burn, discard the oil and begin again. 
4. Stir in the onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Trim the stalks off the chilies and slit them across their length. Add the chilies to the saucepan and cook for another 2 minutes with constant stirring. 
5. Add the tomatoes to the saucepan and increase the flame to a high. Add the vinegar and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the flame to a medium high. Stir constantly to avoid any burning. Continue to cook the mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated and the oil begins to separate from the tomatoes. The mixture should turn into a thick paste. Taste and adjust the salt as necessary (You can also add a little vinegar to it, if you want to make it more sour). Remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer into 4 clean and sterile 500ml canning jars. Process for 15 minutes and store in a cool dry place. 

52 Responses

  1. Heirloom tomatoes are so pretty and taste wonderful. Your spicy relish must taste really good!



  2. I love heirloom tomatoes (we grow a bunch of varieties in our garden) + this is a wonderful way to showcase them. YUM!

  3. OMG! I almost had a heart attack seeing those gorgeous tomato shots ! How incredibly adorable they look ! And I'll try the lovely relish ASAP 🙂

  4. Goegeous tomatoes and lovely flavours. I adore Indian achaars and this has all the spices that make them so good. I bought some heirlooms a couple of weeks ago and I couldnt get to them fast enough so I ended up cutting them up and just eating them. This would've been great! I will look for some more to try this out. Thanks!


  5. Nik, I love the idea of a spicy tomato relish! Yours looks fabulous. Great photos, too!

  6. Nik: What a great Tomato relish — cooked with great spices… I am in love with the second picture. I am so pinning it!

  7. Thanks for the great tip on the green tomatoes, good to know. This tomato relish would be so good on grilled meat for this weekend, I'm thinking =)

  8. Love those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes! The relish sounds and looks very appetizing and moreish.
    Congratulations to all your winners!

  9. Wow..Nik…I have to tell you…your photography just blows me away! I just can't stop looking at these photos! Ok…I'm looking away long enough to grab the recipe for this amazing relish. I just love, sweet, sour and spicy!

  10. I like that you didnt take the tomato skin away,, I do the same way too, infact I feel it adds to the texture.
    I can think of so many possibilities with this yummy relish.

  11. Love this condiment! I can see this in my burgers, sandwiches and pizzas! Delicious. 🙂

  12. I love heirloom tomatoes! That's all we're growing this year, 4 or 5 varieties. Can't wait for them to ripen! And we should definitely make some of this relish – it looks amazing. Thanks so much.

  13. Nik, your pictures are beautiful! (Sounding like a parrot), and finally able to leave you a comment 🙂

  14. I have never had much luck growing tomatoes, they seem to flower but never fruit. You surely have a green thumb!

  15. Tanvi, the skin I think adds so much more to the flavor and texture. I am glad you like it too.

  16. I can grow other things but not tomatoes! That is amazing that you can grow and work with them straight off from your garden.

  17. I love heirloom tomatoes because of their beautiful colors and taste. You captured their beauty with your camera, Nik! Gorgeous photos!

  18. Oh my! It's been a while I have visited your blog. I am awed. I loved the relish recipe. I am hooked to your blog now.

  19. Thank you, yes two cups is correct. Indian pickles traditionally tend to use oil for the preservation process however, the pickle is never served with the excess oil and the vegetable portion of the pickle is drained off any oil before serving. They are very different from Western style pickles.

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