Sunday, September 29, 2013

Curried Green Tomatoes

Curried Green Tomatoes in red ramekin, overhead view

A spicy way to use end-of-season tomatoes

Throughout much of the US, we backyard veggie gardeners are mourning the end of growing season—and remembering the fresh, ripe tomatoes of summer.

We’re also faced with a culinary dilemma: What to do with all those green tomatoes that are still on the vines? They won’t have time to ripen, but we need to pick them before the first frost.

Green tomatoes may not be as alluring as their ripe alter egos, but they have tart, bright flavor. Which makes them exquisite when combined with spicy curry.

And cooking them takes just a few minutes. So you can have curry in a hurry.


Curried Green Tomatoes in ramekin with napkin and fork in background

Recipe:  Curried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes of any size work well in this recipe, but I prefer the smaller ones. I reserve the big ones for Fried Green Tomatoes (a recipe I owe you).

I adapted this recipe from one I found in our old, tattered copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The recipe calls for commercial curry powder (I like a Madras type best, but any will do). Although I often mix my own curry powders or pastes, the commercial version works extremely well in this dish, so that’s what I recommend.

Preparation time for this recipe is about 5 minutes or so. Total cooking time, maybe 10. So you can have this dish ready to go in 15 minutes.

This recipe makes 4 side-dish-sized servings. Leftovers keep for a few days when stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Ingredients
  • 1 small onion (you want about ½ cup when diced; I like red onion, but yellow is a bit more flavorful and I often use that)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as canola)
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste; about half this amount if using regular table salt)
  • 2 cups green tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ~2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (or to taste; you may want to start with half this amount, or omit entirely if spicy isn’t your thing)
  • additional salt to taste
  • ~2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves as garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Peel the onion and chop into dice of about ½-inch (more or less). Peel the garlic and chop fine. Peel the ginger root and grate, or chop fine.
  2. Heat a frying pan, preferably nonstick, on medium heat. When heated, add the oil. Once the oil is hot (it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Add the ½ teaspoon Kosher salt to season and sauté until the onions just become translucent (5 or 6 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, wash the green tomatoes and chop them into pieces measuring about ½ to ¾ inch.
  4. When the onions are ready, add the green tomatoes, the curry powder, and the cayenne pepper. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. You don’t want to overcook the green tomatoes—they’re done when they’re just beyond the raw state, but still fairly crunchy.
  5. Add additional salt to taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves, if using, and serve.
Curried Green Tomatoes on plate with spicy rice

Notes
  • IMO, green tomatoes should be served either lightly cooked (as in this recipe) or else cooked for a very long time. They tend to be a bit slimy when cooked to an in-between state.
  • Green tomatoes look a little like tomatillos. The two are quite different, however (though either one makes a nice salsa). They have different flavors, so you really can’t substitute one for the other.
  • If you want to make your own curry powder, here’s a quick recipe: Combine 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2/3 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/3 teaspoon turmeric. The flavor won’t be as good as commercial curry powder (which includes more spices), but you’ll be in the ballpark, flavor-wise.
  • The original recipe specified butter rather than a neutral oil for the fat. Overkill, IMO.
  • Olive oil also works quite well in this recipe, so you could substitute that for neutral oil if you prefer.
Curried Green Tomatoes in ramekin with napkin and fork in background

Our New Green Tomato Go-To

“Keeper!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, sampling her Curried Green Tomatoes.

“Yes, I thought fried green tomatoes couldn’t be beat,” I said. “But that was before I tasted these.”

“They’d be great with some Indian dishes,” said Mrs K R. “Like Aromatic Yellow Rice and Pink Dal with Swiss Chard."

“Absolutely. Plus, this dish is quite a bit healthier than deep-fried fare,” I said.

“Important point,” said Mrs K R. “It helps with our calorie budget. What we save on this can be allocated to dessert. Baking season is coming up, you know!”

Ah, yes, home economics—the Mrs K R way.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Aromatic Yellow Rice
Pink Dal with Swiss Chard
Sweet Potatoes in Tomato Curry Sauce
Roast Eggplant
Roast Sweet Potatoes
Or check out the index for more recipes

108 comments:

  1. Good morning , what a pleasent surprise ,curried green tomatoes is on the dinner table tonight , thanks a bunch , down here we make cha-cha or freeze the last of the green tomatoes for soups or stews ... thanks for sharing ?)

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    1. Hi Nee, there are so many great things one can do with green tomatoes, aren't there? Cha-cha sounds most excellent! Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Your photos are amazingly inviting. I would have loved to have a piece of this beauty.

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    1. Hi cquek, this really was a great dish - something I'll be making again, and soon. Thanks for your kind words and comment.

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  3. I saw a couple of green tomatoes here in Buenos Aires - and this looks like a fantastic appetizer!

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    1. Hi veganmiam, this is a great dish - loads of flavor, and of course it's vegan. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I've never used green tomatoes for anything but the fried variety...but I love the flavor of curry and this is a great idea; love that it's from such an old book too!

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    1. Hi Barb, fried green tomatoes are hard to beat, but I think I like this dish better. And it's healthier! I'm a real curry fan too.;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. First of all, I loved Curry in A Hurry, a restaurant in downtown STL. (I don't know if they still exist, but you reminded me of them.) Second of all, I have a gazillion green tomatoes and am never as enthused about them in October as I am in July. I'm totally giving this a try!

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    1. Hi Kelly, I had totally forgotten about that restaurant! Anyway, this is a really good use for all of those green tomatoes. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I love green tomatoes too...What a great, flavorful dish, John!

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    1. Hi Denise, don't green tomatoes have great flavor? I'll bet you'd enjoy this dish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Oh em gee John. I can totally picture these on top of a burger. And it's a great picture. You really outdid yourself with these. Curried green tomatoes, freaking fabulous dude. Love it.

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    1. Hi Kim, this would be good on a burger! But they're darn good all by their lonesome. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. All I got this summer was green tomatoes. Weird growing season. I love pickeled green tomatoes (grandmother's recipe) and I am sure I will like this curried version.

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    1. Hi Debra, we got a lot of green tomatoes this summer too! We had ripe ones in July that the squirrels all ate, then finally got some ripe ones again a few weeks ago. All the others have been green - hence, this recipe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Looks absolutely delicious and very healthy. Never tried to cook with green tomatoes, interesting recipe. I can see the usage of this in many ways.

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    1. Hi Asha, it's really good! Worth trying. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. The first time I heard of Fried Green Tomatoes was when the movie of the same name hit our shores. Tomatoes are grown all year round here so we don't need to pick the green ones. This recipe looks very interesting and that's a handy tip on how to quickly whip up your own curry powder. I'd love to see your recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes as I've never tried them. Are green tomatoes really just regular tomatoes that haven't ripened? Recently I've been seeing green heirloom tomatoes in the shops and they're ripe (they're just never going to change colour) and I thought that was what green tomatoes were xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, green tomatoes are indeed regular ones that haven't ripened. I had forgotten that there are some heritage tomatoes that are green when ripe - but they're not what I mean for this recipe. One of these days I should do my Fried Green Tomatoes. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Now I just need to find some green tomatoes! We love tomatillos but we've never tried green tomatoes before. Are they sour at all? Thank you for sharing John. These look delicious!

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    1. Hi Monet, they're a bit sour, but awfully tasty. They're worth trying if you find some someday. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Never thought of doing a curry on those green guys left on the vines. I always think of "fried green tomatoes'' instead like everyone else. Thanks for giving us another tasty alternative.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, these are really good curried. I was surprised that I like them better than Fried Green Tomatoes. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. I love winter. So as Summer ends, I am sad for the farmers markets closing up for the season. BUT so giddy for cool weather:-) Here in the south we have fun green tomato dishes. Love your recipe, and the addition of curry, it sounds delicious! Yum, Take Care, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, I'm so looking forward to cooler weather too. ;-) And there are a lot of great green tomato dishes out there, aren't there? Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Now this is a different recipe. I'm sure I'd love this, very unique. Nice tip on homemade curry powder.

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    1. Hi VIcki, this really is a fun recipe - worth trying. That's a pretty simple curry powder, but it works well in a dish like this that also includes fresh ginger and garlic. Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Hi John... I've never tried Fried Green Tomatoes of any kind before, but your recipe has certainly inspired me! Great. Many thanks! Incidentally, I have a wonderful Luke Nguyen recipe on my site for a green tomato salad too, just in the event you have too many!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, I'll have to check out your Luke Nguyen recipe! And you should tried these curried green tomatoes sometime - wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Who knew there was any recipe other than frying for green tomatoes! Love this much healthier option!

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    1. Hi Liz, this really is pretty healthy. And incredibly tasty! Really a winner, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I need some green tomatoes stat please. Bet this is super tasty. I love curry! How did the garden turn out after all those pesky rabbits?

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    1. Hi Abbe, you do need some green tomatoes! Rabbits got a lot of the lettuce, etc., but didn't touch the tomatoes. Squirrels did those in! But then I got some netting up and salvaged most of the season. We have raised beds, and next year I'm building some PVC frames (or cages) and covering them with chicken wire, and will place them over the raised beds - so (I hope!) nothing will get through. We'll see if that actually works - stay tuned. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I always use to wonder why my grandma bought green tomatoes but now I understand :D
    This looks delicious!

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Hi Uru, these are really terrific - worth trying. Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This is so creative and such a great use for green tomatoes!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, this was a really fun dish to cook and eat! It's different, and really, really good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. such a bright green curry...looks very inviting...loved the ease, absolute burst of deliciousness and just the right amount of cooking done with those gorgeous tomatoes....thanks so much for the inspiration :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, isn't that color outrageous? And the dish is so good - I'd love to see how you'd spice it up! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. LOVING the spices used in this recipe -- looks so comforting, John! Gotta enjoy summer crop while it's cropping ;)

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    1. Hi Kiran, LOL, we do indeed need to enjoy our summer crop while it's cropping! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Nice use of green tomatoes John! Never thought of currying green tomatoes but I bet they're tasty. Going to try this if I can find green tomatoes, I'm only seeing the heirloom green ones now. Thanks for sharing John!

    Nazneen

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    1. Hi Nazneen, this is a dish I think you'd really like. Definitely worth looking for some green tomatoes just so you can play with it. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. looks delicious...just mouthwatering!

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    1. Hi Kalyan, it really is a mouthwatering dish! Truly lovely, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. An interesting dish and scrumptious combination!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, it really is a nice dish. And a bit different, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  25. This sounds delicious John! I have a hard time finding green tomatoes here. I'll have to try it with green heirloom tomatoes, as that's what I substitute for whenever I need green tomatoes.

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    1. Hi Anne, I haven't really worked with the green heirloom tomatoes so I'm not familiar with their characteristics, but if they have quite firm flesh they should work in this dish. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. YUM! This looks great... I could just grow green tomatoes and make this curry... then I would beat the caterpillars that always get my tomatoes!!

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    1. Hi Gourmet Getaways, I may do just eat green tomatoes next year if I have the same squirrel problem I had this year! The squirrels got more tomatoes than we did. :-( Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is a great use of those green tomatoes! I love recipes that use up things like this so that they aren't wasted. It looks really flavorful. I just pickled some green tomatoes recently!

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    1. Hi Amy, pickled green tomatoes is a great dish! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Colorado's temps are dropping and frost is not long off, so my friend just picked all her tomatoes that didn't have time to ripen -- will pass this recipe along. :)

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    1. Hi Judy, maybe your friend will send some curried green tomatoes your way. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I love green tomatoes but never had it with curry. This is very intriguing to me and really tickling my curiosity. This is good stuff, John. Have a good week! :)

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    1. Hi Ray, it's definitely worth trying the combo of green tomatoes and curry - I think you'd like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I always wonder what to do with green tomatoes other than fry them. This is a great idea, though fried green tomatoes are pretty awesome.

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    1. Hi Laura, I agree fried green tomatoes are wonderful. And I won't stop making them. But these may actually be just a tiny bit better! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. I totally agree...I miss the tomatoes from the garden...so does my Baby Girl! :) Your curried green tomatoes sound wonderful and what a great use of those "left over" green tomatoes!

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    1. Hi Amy, green tomatoes have such an interesting flavor! Although I prefer ripe tomatoes, green ones are always a treat. Thanks for the comment.

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  32. This is so colorful, I love it! Just discovered your blog, I'm looking forward to exploring...

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    1. Hi Sue, welcome! Glad you like this recipe - it's a good one! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. This comes just in time. The only yield that my garden had this year was green tomatoes, besides a lone sad cucumber. Love the colors and the clicks.

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    1. Hi Minnie, we got a lot of green tomatoes, too, although in September we got a bunch to ripen, thank goodness. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I just ate and now I'm hungry again! Love the vibrant green color!

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    1. Hi Ashley, sorry about that hunger thing. ;-) Isn't that color terrific? Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I have given up growing tomatoes. The squirrels are just to darn feisty in my neighborhood. It's sad enough because I love juicy, ripe red tomatoes. But I got southern roots and miss me some green tomatoes. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, we had a lot of squirrel thieves this year, too. We finally outwitted them, though! And I have an idea for a better fix next year. We'll see, though - they can be frustrating. Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Boy Nee wasn't kidding when she told me I had to see your Curried Green Tomatoes, John. It just so happens that I'm picking up a bunch of green tomatoes later this week. My friend Katie grew tons of tomatoes on her Amish farm this year and many of them are still green. (very strange tomato growing season this year:) She's sharing!!! I plan to try and ripen some of them in newspaper but the others, oh my! Leave it to Fannie to come up with an amazing timeless recipe.

    Thank you so much for sharing, John. I just happen to have some Madras in the cupboard too!

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    1. Hi Louise, we had a really strange tomato growing season too. Weird. Glad you like this recipe! It's really a good one - enjoy! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. Quick meals are the best! I have never tried a green tomato...can you believe that?!

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    1. Hi Kristi, I think most people who eat green tomatoes are those that grow them, and have late season, unripe ones to consume! Really good, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I adore green tomatoes - have used them in salsa but never have thought to use them in curry - this is truly wonderful!

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    1. Hi Shashi, aren't green tomatoes good? They're wonderful in curry, I discovered. Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Lovely color of this curried tomatoes. The flavors sound so good!

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    1. Hi easyfoodsmith, isn't that color gorgeous? And the flavor is, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. I am always learning new things on your blog...I never thought in cooking green tomatoes...even less with curry...sounds and looks delicious. I love the colors!
    Have a wonderful week John :D

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    1. Hi Juliana, green tomatoes really have an interesting flavor - worth trying. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. What a great alternative to fried green tomatoes. Of course, when I do find some green tomatoes, it's very hard for me NOT to fry them. :) Next year I'll have my own tomatoes plants so I'm pinning this salad for when I have those small green ones. This salad does sounds quite tasty!

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    1. Hi MJ, it's pretty hard to pass up fried green tomatoes, I admit. ;-) These really are good, though, and might be just a tad better. Maybe. Depending on my mood. ;-) Heck, I'll just make both! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. I love green tomatoes! But I think last time I ate them was like 20 years ago. I am serious - I just don't see them in stores and then I never remember to "look for them" elsewhere. Thanks for reminding me that green tomatoes exist, with this wonderful recipe. :)

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    1. Hi Julia, you tend to see green tomatoes in farmer's markets more than in stores - stores usually carry ripened ones, at least in my experience. So they're one of those things that home gardeners tend to cook a lot! Worth looking for, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  43. What a tasty way to celebrate the end of the season!
    Love the idea to "curry" the tomatoes.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Daniela, this really is a nice treat to celebrate the end of tomato season! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Frankly I've never cooked with green tomatoes before, we always get them fully ripe here, but that curry does sound wonderful!

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    1. Hi Gintare, in the US it's mainly backyard gardeners that get green tomatoes these days (although I see them at farmer's markets, too). They're good, though - worth developing a source! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. I have never cooked with green tomatoes before. I think I will have to change that, since I have lots of green tomatoes in my garden. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Dawn, since you have green tomatoes, this recipe is for you! A different flavor from regular tomatoes, but good. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I use green tomatoes in various Indian dishes and they can go well with rice or rotis. Its about time to get the green tomatoes from the garden as they are not going to ripe. Wish summer was longer.

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    1. Hi Shibi, I can imagine there are a lot of Indian dishes using green tomatoes - they go so well with the spices and flavorings. Definitely about time to harvest your green tomatoes - where you live you could have frost any time. Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Hi John, haven't try green tomatoes but your this curry recipe look really good. Thanks for sharing, I presume it taste good with briyani rice.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, I haven't tried this with briyani rice, but I think it'd be a terrific combo. And you really should try green tomatoes if you have the chance - they're quite good. Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I have to pass this along to my fellow gardners who have more than their share of green tomatoes.

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    1. Hi Kristi, we had a bunch of green tomatoes this year, too. Hence, this recipe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I reviewed The New Jewish Cookbook a few months ago and in there they have a recipe for a fried green tomato sandwich that I have been dying to try. Now after seeing your recipe I don't know which I would try first, your recipe or theirs if I am lucky enough to run across some green tomatoes.

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    1. Hi Karen, the other day on a blog (I forget which one) I saw someone substitute a fried green tomato for the regular tomato in a BLT. Sounds like a fun idea! We had plenty of green tomatoes this year, alas, so we've done multiple things with them. Thanks for the comment.

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  50. I'm from Mississippi so fried green tomatoes were a part of my diet long before they became so popular across the country. That's really the only way I've had green tomatoes. I love finding another way to enjoy them. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

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    1. Hi Bill, it's pretty hard to beat a fried green tomato, but I think the curried ones do. Maybe. ;-) Taste testing is definitely required! Thanks for the comment.

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  51. I always remember the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes at this time of year. Love your curried version!

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    1. Hi Kitchen Butterfly, that's such a fun movie! These curried green tomatoes are great - really worth making. Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I haven't had a chance to try fried green tomatoes yet and now this is another green tomato recipe that I shouldn't miss trying! I think everything "curry" tastes delicious!

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    1. Hi Nami, fried green tomatoes are definitely worth playing with. Check out farmer's markets - they often have them. And I agree with you that curry anything is wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

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  53. I'm not in the habit of eating green tomatoes, though the market has plenty of them... But I'm in the habit of loving all things curry, so this is the way I'm going next time I see those green monsters! Brilliant pic! (figuratively and literally)

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    1. Hi Paula, curried anything is wonderful, I agree. One of my favorite flavors! And it works so well with green tomatoes. Thanks for the comment.

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  54. I am intrigued! I haven't cooked much with green tomatoes but one year I made chutney with them, so I can imagine well-spiced curried green tomatoes would be terrific. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Hannah, our goal always is not to cook much with green tomatoes, but the weather never cooperates, so we always have some at the end of the season! Chutney is a terrific way to use them, and if you like that, I'll bet you'll like them curried. Thanks for the comment.

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