Tomatillo Masial: A Weeknight Favorite

When I have even a little time on my hands, I enjoy experimenting with ingredients to come up with new recipes. But most days are a blind rush to get home from work, get any errands out of the way, dash into the kitchen, and get dinner on the table.

On days like these, faced with the prospect of cooking something I’ve cooked often before, I – ironically – feel at a loss for ideas. That’s when I turn to Desi and ask him what he’d like for dinner, even though I well know by now that his answer will be a cool, “Anything will do.”

Now as you can imagine, that’s one frustrating response when you’re banking on someone for inspiration. Still, there are rare occasions when Desi will request an old favorite, making my life a little easier. And Green Tomato Masial is at the top of his list.

Here, I don’t find green tomatoes in the market, so the only times I am able to make this delicious dish is when I can grow my own tomatoes in the summer. But in the days before I grew tomatoes, I learned to substitute for the tomatoes with a lookalike that has a similar-sounding name: tomatillo.

Tomatillos come all dressed up in a papery robe that you peel off to expose a deliciously tangy, gem-like green fruit. They are shoulder-shrugging sour, and used quite a lot in Mexican cuisine. They are also quite easily available at the supermarkets here.

The masial is easy to put together, and I used sambar powder that my sister-in-law brought for me when she visited, which is beyond delicious. Store-bought sambar powder would do very well too.

So here’s an easy and quick, and traditional (almost) Tamil recipe that’s a lifesaver and a timesaver on busy weeknights. I served it with hot, boiled rice, some roasted potatoes and papad or poppadum for a delicious and near-effortless meal.

Enjoy, everyone!

Tomatillo Masial


5-6 tomatillos, outer covers peeled, washed, and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice and zapped in the microwave with 2-3 tbsp of water for about 2-3 minutes until quite tender.

1/2 cup tuvar dal (small yellow split lentils), covered with water and boiled until tender. Reserve with all liquid.

2-3 green chillies. Run a knife along the length to split them into halves

1 heaping tablespoon sambar powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)

1 sprig curry leaves

1/3 cup coconut shreds

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a saucepan

Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the asafetida

Add the green chilies and curry leaves and stir.

Add the sambar powder and turmeric and stir, then add the cooked dal and tomatillos.

Allow the masial to come to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on a low flame for about 5 minutes.

If the masial is too thick, add water. If it’s too thin, mix 1 tbsp of rice flour in a quarter cup of water and add to the masial.

Add salt to taste. Add coconut shreds and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with boiled rice.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Lovely,never tried tomatillo in an Indian way.This looks a very comforting dish and quick as well.
    PS: Inspirationwise ,we are on the same boat.but this dish is inspiring me.Thanks

  2. says

    mmm tasty masiyal. i posted this tomatillo masiyal a while back in my blog. i use mung dhal for this recipe. next time will try thur dal.

    heehe.. same here.. when i am out of ideas, i ask my hubby. and he wud say-anything simple like curd rice would do. he never makes a fuss about food. yet i put enthu to cook :)

  3. says

    Nice recipe dear, never heard abt Tomatillo here in s’pore(n neither saw green tomotoes)… Next time ‘ll search for them, gud quick recipe…

  4. says

    I totally agree with Mahima, my husband is also like that. He tells the exact same thing “mor sadam podhum”. I have also tried something similar to this. You described it correctly about the sourness. I guess we should come with some pickle recipe using tomatillos.

    Also thank you very much for considering my request.

  5. says

    I always associated masiyal with leafy vegetables. This one is similar to thakkali sambar – looks so warm and inviting! Desi is a lucky one – my family often accuses me of making stuff I like, that they hog is another thing;)

  6. says

    He he all tamilian are same, i guess (reading all tamili comments):) Mine says rasam or any lefover is fine! so i ended up drilling my own ideas…
    This tomatillo masial sounds cool !

  7. says

    So this is the mashiyal you were mentioning. I shall try it with the green tomatoes.

    Whenever I offer my husband a choice of food, he also says “anything will do”! Can get irritating sometimes.:)
    Maybe its a “guy” thing.

  8. says

    The tomatillo masiyal seems like a great idea, looks very appealing, will give this a try soon…..Apparently many of us here have something more than blogging in common, my husbands response to that question is “anything simple”….

  9. says

    My husband gives the exact response when I ask him for ideas and it frustrates me no end too (if i knew what to make, i wouldn’t even be asking him right?!) 😀

    The sourness of the tomatillos must make this masiyal delicious. Am bookmaring to try.

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