Tomato Saar – Creamy Tomato Coconut Milk Soup

Some like it hot, some like it cold, (hope no one likes it in the pot 9 days old!!) Don’t some dishes simply say home just by looking at them? Well, this is one of those.

Happiness is homemade as they rightly say. All ‘home’ requires here is some steaming hot plain rice, a happily healthy dollop of ghee & large ladlefuls of warm tomato saar to drown it in. All you need to do now is slurp it down!! Comfort-in-a-bowl is an apt name for this meal.

An unbelievably mild, light & aromatic dish that’s made with truly simple ingredients available all year round in any kitchen! Perfect for any weather, hot summers or cool monsoons, it is my all-time favourite light comfort food. As a child, each time I was under the weather, without an appetite or no taste in my mouth, this was the only dish I looked forward to. My mum made a mean saar and it always seemed to help me bounce back to health.

And, isn’t it funny how some habits just stick? Even today, any time that we have had an overdose of heavy rich oily food, or should it be misty moisty rainy outside, it is amazing how I land up making this tasty saar to balance out the palate and tummy.

An utterly flavourful ghee-roasted tomato coconut soup, it finds its origins on the western or Konkan coast of Maharashtra. While it tastes just as delicious with Masale Bhaat, Masala Khichadi, Raw mango rice (all recipes on blog already) or any other mildly flavoured rice, I personally prefer it with plain steamed rice, ghee & roasted poppadums!

Not too much going on here, a delicious blend of tangy red tomatoes, blanched & some creamy mildly sweet coconut milk, it’s entirely the robust seasoning with basic Indian spices that lifts the dish & steals the show! I’m sure, like most dishes, this one too finds several variations in every home, but either which way, this will steal your heart. You can tweak it to the spices you have available readily in your kitchen at the time.

P.S. Add a secret ingredient, beetroot, to liven up the red colour, if your tomatoes are not too red. Don’t take my word for it this time, try it out for yourself and see! I assure you it will be on your list of regular Indian favourites!

Recipe for Tomato Saar – Creamy Tomato Coconut Milk Soup

Ingredients (Serves 4 Persons)

  • 500 grams ripe red tomatoes 
  • 50 grams beetroot boiled (optional – refer notes)
  • 4 cups water for cooking
  • ½ cup light coconut milk, freshly squeezed (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 green chilies, slit & chopped (deseeded for less spice)
  • 2 teaspoon jaggery or sugar
  • salt to taste

for tempering

  • 2 tablespoons oil/ghee
  • ½ inch stick cinnamon / dalchini
  • 2 cloves / laung
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds / rai
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera seeds
  • 4-5 fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves / kadipatta
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder /hing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves, to garnish


  1. Rinse tomatoes, cut a cross in the bottom (as shown in the video).
  2. Boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan. As soon as it comes to a rolling boil, add the tomatoes & ½ teaspoon salt (ensuring they are half submerged in water). Stir in green chillies & jaggery & mix well.
  3. Cover and cook on low to medium flame for 6-8 minutes till tomatoes are soft & skin comes loose.
  4. Once cooled, keep the reserved stock aside. Remove the skins & mash lightly.
  5. Purée the whole tomatoes in a blender and then strain the purée & stock to remove seeds & residual skins if any. Keep aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix 2 tbsp rice flour or corn flour with ½ cup light coconut milk ensuring no lumps are formed. This prevents it from curdling when heated.
  7. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil/ghee on a low flame.
  8. Add cinnamon stick, cloves & stir. Now add mustard seeds & allow them to crackle.
  9. Add jeera seeds, methi seeds & saute, 8 to 10 curry leaves, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and pinch of asafoetida. Stir well.
  10. Add in the strained tomato puree mixture.
  11. Check for salt & jaggery as per your taste. Add a dash of pepper powder & allow it to reach boiling point.
  12. Lower the flame & add the coconut milk-rice flour mixture & mix well.
  13.  Cooking on a low to medium flame, bring the tomato saar to a light boil.
  14. As soon as the first bubbles appear, switch off the flame.
  15. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
  16. Serve tomato saar with plain steamed rice or Masale Bhaat or drink it plain like a sweet-sour soup.


  • You can either use the freshly squeezed milk of half a coconut or readymade coconut milk for this recipe.
  • If using readymade, use only ¼ cup and dilute with water.
  • If your tomatoes aren’t overly red or ripe, the addition of beetroot helps redden it.
  • Tastes best with hot steamed rice or Masale Bhaat, Masala Khichadi, Raw mango rice (all recipes on blog already) or any other mildly flavoured rice.
  • Great as a sweet-sour soup just by itself.

4 thoughts on “Tomato Saar – Creamy Tomato Coconut Milk Soup

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