Green Tomato Masial and Okra Subzi

Feeding time at our home is a bit of a frenzy, and with three dogs and two cats, each of a different size and with different needs, you can guess why.

Just as the grass is always greener on the other side for us humans, cat food is more desirable to dogs than what’s in their own bowl and vice versa. So the struggle begins with trying to keep each out of the other’s bowl. This means a lot of careful separation with baby gates and stringent supervision. One lax moment would mean Opie would have licked clean the cats’ tiny bowls before I could say “No!”.

Freddie, our darling oldie, is also the smallest of our dogs. His teeth are weak and he refuses to eat kibble, so he is on a canned food diet. He also likes to wait to ingest anything other than what he’s supposed to eat, if he can get it, before he gets to his bowl. So his food hangs around for hours before he touches it and that, naturally, sets Opie and Lucy off into a contest to see who can get into Freddie’s food before he gets to it.

Then there’s Pie, our black cat, who’s watching her weight, or rather whose weight we are watching. Pie is more than a little food obsessed and every morning I wake up to her constant chant of meows as she demands that I get up at once and feed her. One of the ways she manages to eat more than her share is by bullying the more peace-loving Pubm to give up her food.

For some reason, human food is the most desirable of all to canines of all sizes, shapes and temperament. Even the vegan food on my plate, strangely enough, is irresistibly attractive to these four-legged weirdos. Not so much for Lucy, who doesn’t like vegetables, but for Freddie and definitely for Opie– who, and I am not kidding– will eat anything. He takes tofu, carrots, spinach, edamame, lettuce, potatoes, upma, dosa, dal and bread delicately from my hand and follows it all with a satisfied roll of the tongue over his mouth as if to say a lipsmacking thank you!

But Opie’s most favorite food of all has got to be rice. He would eat bowl after bowl of plain boiled rice if I let him which of course I don’t, because just like us humans dogs have to watch their carb intake AND their meals need to be balanced. I often kid that he must be a South Indian at heart, like Desi, because of his love for rice.

And now for a South Indian dish that works wonderfully with rice (for humans). This Green Tomato Masial is a treat we enjoy usually only in the summers when I can grow my own tomatoes and pick them off the vine before they can be touched by even the palest shade of orange. A green tomato has a character of its own, quite different from its ripe version. It’s tart and tangy and firm, and in this masial it is a treat unlike any other.

I had a while ago posted my tomatillo masial, which is my winter version of this dish, but I wanted to share this too since it is one of Desi’s favorite dishes, and also quite easy to make.

To go with my Green Tomato Masial, I made an utterly simple but also utterly delicious okra subzi which is exactly how my mom always made it, and which I absolutely adore. The flavor here comes from the wonderful caramelization of the onion and the okra which makes everything taste sweet and rich. So much, in fact, that as a child okra or ladies’ fingers (bhendi in Marathi or vendakka in Tamil) were my favorite veggie!

The okra, along with the green tomatoes, comes from my backyard. I find okra one of the easiest veggies to grow because I can plant the seeds directly into the soil once the coldest of days is past, and the seedlings come up with little fuss. With regular watering and feeding, they give me slender and tender fingers of okra all summer which taste far better than the bags of frozen, slimy supermarket stuff I have to put up with all winter.

Here goes. Enjoy, all!

Green Tomato Masial


3/4 cup tuvar dal (yellow split peas or pigeon peas), covered with water, then pressure cooked or boiled until tender.

4 medium green tomatoes, chopped into an even dice of about 1/2 cm.

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 heaping tbsp sambar powder

1 tsp mustard seeds

A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)

1 sprig curry leaves

2 green chilies, slit through the middle.

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan.

Add the mustard leaves and asafetida. When the mustard sputters, add the curry leaves, stir quickly, then add the green tomatoes.

Cook until the tomatoes break down and get quite tender, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the sambar powder, stir thoroughly, then add the cooked tuvar dal.

Add salt to taste, and add water if the mixture is too thick. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes so all the flavors come together.

Garnish, if desired, with chopped coriander leaves.

This dish is best eaten with plain boiled rice, but it also goes quite well with chapatis.

Okra Subzi


About 12 fresh okra, trimmed at both ends, then cut into very thin rings, about 1/4th of a centimeter wide (if you cut them too thick, they will not cook through before they start to brown)

1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 small onion, very thinly sliced

2 dry red chillies, broken into smaller pieces

Salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Heat the oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet

Add the onions and red chillies and stir until the onions just begin to brown.

Add the okra and fry, stirring frequently, until they are quite brown and crispy.

Add some salt and pepper at the very end to season.

Serve hot!

The Green Tomato Masial goes to Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook for the 14th edition of her now legendary and healthful My Legume Love Affair. Thanks, dear Susan!

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

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  1. says

    Love the dogie (and cats too) update :) One of my friends dog must be south indian at heart as she loved curd rice 😛

    green tomatoes in any shape and form is something I can eat anytime of the day. Khandesh has similar dish which I posted a while ago.

  2. says

    I think I love your cat ‘pie’. Back when I was in India, I had a cat who had two kittens at one time. I don’t have any pets now here, but I am fond of cats more than any other pets. Pretty pictures.

  3. says

    You have such a nice blog!Although I try to stay away from all animals mainly bcuz I am scared of all the animals, the dogs in the pic look cute:D
    Th okra is so well done and the tomato masial looks very tempting!Thanks for visiting me…Hope to see you often!

  4. says

    Vaishali, I really like this but I luck some ingredients I cannot find green tomatoes, well maybe I can use red tomatoes? But the main problem is the curry leaves, nowhere insight where I am. On a recent trip to NYC I got at Patel Brothers, a very nice indian supermarket in New York, curry leaves powder. I have not used it yet; do you have an opinion on using this?
    I just happened to buy okra today so I really would like to try this :)
    Best wishes. Maria

  5. says

    You should open a vegan restaurant! The okra looks SO good! …I have a dog that loves to eat corn on the cob- if you hold it, he’ll munch away until there’s nothing left – same goes for watermelon LOL!

  6. says

    Your dogs are adorable Vaishali. Have been thinking of getting one for my son but am worried about the amount of care and time one needs to devote. :)
    I made the okra for Tushar when I can get fresh okras in the store. But like you, I too don’t care for the slimy, frozen variety.

  7. says

    I remember making a masial following one of Mallika Badrinath’s recipes. I’d used tomatillos in that dish and it turned out well. Your version with tomatoes sounds good, Vaishali. I don’t think I’ve ever used green tomatoes in my cooking though- don’t know why!

  8. says

    Ha,Vaishali you are such a cute mom to them…loved reading about your pets…

    Okra is my fav for long now..your bowl tempt me like anything !!

  9. says

    I have okras now. I will make this for lunch. Thank you for sharing that curry is great. I do not know any malay foods. I want to take part in the challenge this month.I love dogs and cats so much.I never see them as animals though just members of the family

  10. says

    Cute babies!!

    Both the dishes are so mouth-watering Vaishali!! I love green tomatoes. I always pick them up whenever I find them at groceries.

  11. says

    Green tomato masial looks tempting, i dont think i have seen them here..will def be making once i find some green tomatoes, love the okra dish, looks very crispy just the way i like :)

  12. says

    …and I thought my Silky was weird. He was a boxer ‘who would eat anything’! Even fruits like grapes!! My alsation was more ‘dog-like’ and didnt quite know what to do with grapes!!

  13. says

    Sireesha, Thanks.

    Stephanie, you are so right– nothing beats just-picked-from-the-garden taste.

    Mints, My dogs love curd-rice too. They are funny that way :)

    BangaloreBaker, Pie is a wonderful cat. Pubm and Pie are our first cats ever, and they converted us from affirmed dog persons into cat persons overnight. They are absolutely precious.

    Shri, Thanks!

    VeganDinners: I left you a reply on your post, but to recap, you can use tomatillos instead of green tomatoes in the recipe. And although dry curry leaf powder does not have the same flavor as fresh, you can add it to the masial at the same stage as the regular curry leaves. Let me know if you have other questions.

    Karma, a dog who eats corn on the cob? Now that’s hilarious. I should try that with Opie the next time! :)

    Jaya, you’re doing the right thing– one should never adopt a pet before one’s completely ready and knows they can give the time and effort needed. Dogs and cats need to be cared for, and it takes time and effort. Of course, they make it all worth it by being as wonderful as they are and with their unconditional love :)

    TBC, I love green tomatoes. They taste amazing, and I love how they look in curries. Hope you try them.

    Pavithra, Ann: thanks, ladies.

    Caribbeanvegan: You’re right, once you’ve lived with dogs and cats and see how sensitive and intelligent they are, it is hard to just label them as pets. They become members of the family.

    Foodnfit, Uma, Priya, Parita, Thanks!

    Dibs: Imagine a dog eating grapes! That’s hilarious, although I have heard that raisins are toxic to dogs, so I would imagine grapes might not be so great for them either.
    My Alsatian, Lucy, also tends to look down on veggies. She thinks it’s beneath her canine dignity or something like that, I imagine :)

  14. says

    Ah, so *that’s* why your pups are always smiling in the photos! All those tasty bites of others’ meals. :}

    Thank you, Vaishali, for sharing your lovely masial with MLLA. (Okra looks scrummy, too. I agree; there is nothing like garden-fresh okra.)

  15. says

    I tried this exact combo over the weekend – and it was just yum! I grew up eating all sorts of masials…keerai (or spinach) being my favourite! Thanks for making me want to make this again! :)

  16. says

    You’re obviously a good cook, no wonder there’s so much fighting for food going on!

    Mever made mashial with green tomatoes. Should try that. And that’s the way I like my okra the best.

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