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Curry powder (Recipe: curried green tomatoes)

It's green tomato season here in Rhode Island -- the perfect time to enjoy an updated post from the archives. And if you live in my neighborhood, please help yourself to these green tomatoes from my garden.

Green tomatoes

On my very first spice rack, in my very first apartment, the most exotic tin, rectangular and red and gold all over, held Madras curry powder.

You know exactly what I'm talking about.

You probably have a tin just like it on your spice rack.

Though I'm 25 or 30 tins down the road from my first spice rack, the tin in my pantry today is exactly the same as the first one: Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder, imprinted with seals of approval so tiny you can't possibly read them, from organizations (or expositions, or governments) you need a microscope to identify. A silver medal from St. Louis 1904 must be from the World's Fair, but whoever bestowed a gold medal from London 1905, the most recent prize listed on the tin, remains a mystery.

However, what's not a mystery is why this particular spice blend is sold in supermarkets everywhere.

Curry powder is the ultimate convenience food.

 In every pantry in every Indian kitchen, a masala dabba -- a round container with an airtight lid and small bowls inside -- holds the component spices to make the family's favorite dishes. Hot or mild, more smoky or more salty, whatever your preference, you can make it from your masala dabba.

If you're not well versed in Indian cookery (and I'm not), store-bought curry powder is a great place to start.

Curry powder

Sun Brand's Madras curry contains coriander seeds, turmeric, chile peppers, salt, cumin seed, fennel seed, black pepper, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cinnamon, cloves, anise and mustard. The bright yellow color comes from the turmeric, not from any additives.

The flavor of this particular curry powder, available in the spice aisle of every supermarket, is medium hot, but my spice rack also holds sweet and super-hot curry powders from Penzeys, which sells a wonderful eight-jar gift box of Indian curry powders from tandoori to vindaloo to rogan josh.

Use the curry powder of your choice to make cashew curry, chicken curry salad, curried chocolate brownies, crockpot chicken curry, curry carrot ice cream, and pumpkin seeds. Curry powder will keep in your pantry for up to one year.

Curried green tomatoes

Curried green tomatoes

Serves 2.


2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp sweet or hot curry powder
2 cups green tomatoes, diced (3-4 large tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
Leftover cooked salmon, chicken or tofu, chopped or shredded (optional)


Heat the oil (or melt butter) in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook slowly until well heated, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder; if the mixture seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water. (After 5 minutes, add cooked chicken or other leftover meat, if desired.) Season with salt and pepper, and serve with steamed rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Curried squash, apple and pear soup
Curry dip
Punjab five jewels
Egg curry
Chicken curry, Lombok style
Cold curried orzo

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I never tried green tomatoes, it taste like the regular one?

for those without green tomatoes but into an easy curry dish, I implore you to revisit the orzo post:

Adding tofu wouldn't make it non-vegan. :)

I have just pulled some green tomatoes from my plants and was contemplating their uses. Thanks for posting this!

That is a very interesting recipe. I will have green tomatoes to pick ahead of the first freeze of the season. I usually make pickled green tomatoes to serve with fish. I must remember this.

Wish I had green tomatoes! I found a GT soup recipe, love them fried, and this looks like a winner... thanks Lydia.

Lydia, I wish I could have a couple of those tomatoes here - yum!

As for curry, one of my coworkers gave me some she brought from a trip to Istanbul, it is wonderful! The smell is intoxicating. I roll pizza dough really, really thin, brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with curry powder, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. Into the oven for a couple of minutes. Joao can eat a bowl of it, and he doesn't even like curry. :D

Oh, the jealousy! My local grocer does not have green tomatoes, and I am jonesing for some. This would be an ideal dinner or lunch, too.

...Writing from an area of the country where fried green tomatoes are on most restaurant menus, -this recipe with curry is an excellent way to showcase the flavor of the green tomato.

Ohh...you've touched upon a spice I enjoy eating, but don't have much (ok, any) experience with when cooking. Now the green tomatoes on the other hand, I have much experience with and not to sound cliche, but love them fried!

I'd love to try this.


I have all three of those curry powders in your photo! Never thought of cooking green tomatoes like this, but I like the sound of it!

Our tomatoes are slowing down but we tomatillos coming out our ears, so will have to this a go with them. We also like curry powder in deviled eggs.

Fast Cooker, green tomatoes are a bit more tart than red ones.

Milton, thanks -- I'm so glad you liked it.

Deena, you're right, of course -- my sentence could have be worded more clearly!

Barb, this is a nice alternative to the traditional fried green tomatoes. Do try it.

Susan, tomatillos would work, too, if you can find them.

Patricia, that sounds like a delicious flatbread. It would be great with a curried stew, too.

Haley, I'm lucky to have many farm stands near my house, and also friends whose gardens fared better than mine this year.

Debi, I do love fried green tomatoes (which are never on menus here in the Northeast).

Sandie, curry powder is a great way to get started with Indian cuisine. As you get into it more, you'll want to mix your own masalas, but these curry powders are good all-purpose spices.

Paz, I hope you do!

Kalyn, tomatoes or tomatillos will work with this recipe, if you have either of them in your garden.

Andrea, absolutely, go for the tomatillos. They would be delicious with the curry.

looks like another year with a sad amount of tomatoes that neer reach their full potential. I like to fry mine in a skillet with a couple eggs after I heat the oil with some spices that make my own sort-of curry. It is really not as difficult as you may think!

I want a masala dabba! They look so cool.
My daughter and I are big fans of curry, yum! Great way to use up your green tomatoes.

I am really intrigued by the shape of those tomatoes! I made this recipe last year, and used green zebra tomatoes - they added some sweet flavor to contrast the curry and it was lovely. I've become really interested in different versions of curry - just the aroma gets me started!

I'm pretty curry timid... I dont think I have EVER used it in my cooking! Do I dare admit that?

I best come back and get tips more often!

Wowza. Curry and green tomatoes together? Brilliant. Please send some over. Por favor!

Erin, it's been a brutal year for tomatoes here in the Northeast. My plant is kicking out its third harvest of green tomatoes, but none have made it to ripeness.

Natashya, I have two masala dabbas, one for Indian spices, and one I use for other collections -- sometimes for Mexican spices (cumin, cinnamon, etc.).

TW, the tomatoes are a special type of San Marzano Romas. They were started from seed by our local organic gardening center at the request of one customer, who bought all but three plants. On the day I happened to be there, the three plants remained; a friend bought two, and I took the last one.

Amanda, don't be afraid -- start with a "sweet" curry powder and use a little bit. You'll find it warm (like cinnamon), not spicy. I hope you'll like it.

Karina, it's a really good combination, mixing the sweet and the tart. And vegan, too!

I have a glut of green tomatoes at the moment and have just made a Spicy Green Tomato Chutney on my blog - http://anyoneforseconds.wordpress.com/ I will definately be trying this recipe with some of the other green tomatoes I have left :)

I love curry anything and never thought of using it with green tomatoes, yum! Thanks for the recipe Lydia!

Desperate for something to do with glut of green tomatoes, having already made 11 pots of chutney. Will definitely try this!

mmmm thank you for the recipe! I love anything curried. Indian food is definitely my favorite. I usually fry my green tomatoes but I'm getting kind of tired of them so I'll try this out.

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