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What's the optimum — or, at least, the most widely used — tomato to onion ratio for making the tomato masala (sauce)? Masala is used as the base for a number of north Indian dishes. Onions are fried in oil and then tomatoes and spices are added and cooked down until the oil separates out.

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3 Answers 3

I am not intimately familiar with the recipe but according to the recipes I have researched the ratio seems to run the gamut from 2-1 tomatoes to onions all the way to 1-1 tomatoes to onions. I would recommend starting at the 2-1 ration and adjusting according to taste.

Here are the recipes I reviewed:

http://www.food.com/recipe/onion-tomato-masala-194144

http://www.spiderkerala.com/kerala/recipes/ViewRecipe.aspx?RecipeId=162

http://nsushma.blogspot.com/2009/09/tomato-masala.html

I hope that helps! Ideally someone with more experience with this dish can eventually write a more comprehensive answer.

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Thanks for your effort. I am in the middle of trying out different ratios right now, and will see what works the best. –  Avinash Bhat Oct 12 '11 at 18:02
    
Cool, report back with your results! –  Katey HW Oct 12 '11 at 19:23
    
I usually start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust based on personal preference. Most recipes will say something like "one medium onion, diced"...but that's not helpful to me since "medium" is a totally subjective term. I also don't like huge pieces of slimy cooked onions, so I sometimes adjust the amount (sometimes I just chop 'em smaller). But in general, 2:1 - 1:1 should work for most sauces. –  Laura Oct 12 '11 at 20:12
    
@LauraΨ: you are right that a lot of recipes call for a "medium" onion or a "large" tomato, measures that are totally useless. I will try different ratios by weight and report back. Thanks for your comment. –  Avinash Bhat Oct 12 '11 at 21:29

I have a coworker from North India whose wife is a fantastic cook. I asked him and he asked her.

Her response was basically "it depends".

Her recipes are commonly 1:1 ratios. I commented that this was a lot of onion and my coworker said that's fine because he's the one that chops it.

Some recipes have even more onion and the onion is pureed. Others have a little more tomato.

She recommended starting with a 1:1 ratio by volume unless there is a specific type of masala recipe that requires a different ratio.

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Thank you, Sobachatina. I started with a 1:1 ratio (by weight), and in the coming days will increase the ratio and see what happens. Stay tuned for a more scientific analysis. –  Avinash Bhat Oct 12 '11 at 21:26

The ratio basically depends upon ones taste and the dish in particular. 2:1 ratio is opted in cases where we would like to have a sweet taste of the tomato, in other cases we go for 1:1.

Often for spicy dishes 2:1 is preferred.

I would recommend to start from 1:1, and bring down the ratio depending upon whether you love the taste of tomato.

I basically stick to 2:1, as I am not a tomato fan.. B-)

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