When we arrive back in the kitchen we’re greeted by our delivery of fresh ingredients from the markets including fresh and ripe Australian Roma tomatoes, large brown onions, ginger and garlic.
We start the morning by washing boxes of fresh sun-ripened Australian grown Roma tomatoes in one corner of the kitchen and toasting a huge amount of dried Indian grown fenugreek leaves in batches until the smell engulfs the whole room. Once cooled, Latasha blends the leaves into a powder and begins to expertly gather all the dry whole spices for her special garam masala mix.An intoxicating number of spices are carefully measured then masterfully toasted together ensuring the largest down to the smallest seed gets evenly toasted and well ground.
Meanwhile a large vessel is heated and canola oil is added. Crushed onions are caramelised with butter and salt. Once the onions reach perfection, garlic and ginger are added along with spices that include sweet papkira, cumin, almond meal and palm sugar.
The tomatoes are crushed and Latasha tastes them in preparation for the adjustments of sweetness and tanginess that will need to be made, depending on the time of year that the paste is made. She gets excited when there’s the promising balance of sweetness and tanginess.
Tomatoes, spices and the garam masala are all added and boiled then simmered until the sauce thickens and darkens. The pH measurements are taken and lots of profile tasting and adjustments take place until Latasha is absolutely happy with the taste.
Jars are quickly assembled at the packing point and the team await instructions for hot filling.
Everyone wants to ensure the contents are bottled in that moment of perfection.
Make it cooler: Not that you should need to, this can be further cooled with yogurt, fresh cream, sour cream, buttermilk or coconut cream.
Make it less creamy: For a less cream based sauce, make a nutty, tangy, herb based tomato sauce by blending fresh lemon juice, fresh coriander and mint leaves, fresh tomatoes and with almond or cashew meal.
Make it hotter: For a spicy sauce add cayenne powder, minced green chillies or bird’s eye chillies.