Fire Roasted Tomato Chokha

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Tomato salsa, corn chips and oil

The Fire Roasted Tomato Chokha is a dish from the eastern state of Bihar (India) and is traditionally cooked on coals. There is something very comfortable and ancient about cooking on fire or the grill. The aromas wafting from the food touch evokes emotion and the flame kissed food tastes like something we have always known. While I love grilled lamb chops and tandoori chicken, I mostly gravitate towards cooking more vegetables on the grill. Fresh summer vegetables when grilled are really delicious in salads, salsas and chutneys.

The Fire roasted tomato chokha or the ‘tamatar ka chokha’ as it is called in Bihar is made from freshly picked ripe tomatoes on open flames on the gas stove. The smoky flavor of the sweet tomatoes, mixed in with cilantro, onions, chilies is earthy. It reminds you of a salsa and can be used as one. It’s an excellent side with dal–chawal (dal and rice). Adding in a papad will take the meal to the next level.

How to Make Fire Roasted Tomato Chokha!

Roasting tomatoes on open flame is the traditional way, to make this dish. But, you can use the BBQ grill to grill the tomatoes until soft; or air fry whole tomatoes ( a little messy) or the time tested method of broiling them in the oven. I keep switching between using my stovetop or my charcoal grill to cook these. It is usually weather dependent. The stovetop method is convenient, quick and can be done in any weather.  Cooking these on the grill adds in more of that smoky flavor.

After the tomatoes are roasted, peel the burnt skin off. I leave a little bit of the skin on for more smoky flavor. Finely chop the tomatoes, and add to finely chopped cilantro, Thai green chillies and onions. If you are making larger quantities – peel the tomatoes and then toss them into a food processor with cilantro and chilli and pulse a couple of times. Pour into a bowl and add in finely chopped onions, salt to taste and finish with extra virgin olive oil, or toasted sesame oil or if you really want to follow the traditional method – with cold pressed raw mustard oil.

Roasted tomatoes, cilantro and blue corn chips

This chokha is a delightful summer addition to any BBQ party or summer picnic and it definitely is my favorite  summer ‘salsa’ to make and share. Serve with tortilla chips or layer it up on a lamb burger or just add to poached shrimp.


Some more Memorial Day BBQ and Picnic Favorites



Main Courses

Side Dishes

5 from 3 votes

Fire Roasted Tomato Chokha

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1/4 c finely diced onions
  • 1/4 c finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 bird's eye green chili
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil ( or olive oil )


Roasting Tomatoes ( Use any of three methods to roast tomatoes)

    Grill Method

    1. Heat up the grill to 450* F

    2. Cut tomatoes into twos and place cut side down on the hot grill

    3. Cook until tender and the skin is charred with juices running out

    Broiling Method

    1. Place tomatoes on a sheet pan ( lined with parchment if you want easy clean up later) under the broiler in your oven. Cook on one side until tender and the skin is charred with juices running out. Turn and cook on the other side. Usually takes about 10 minutes, but watch them closely

    Open Flame ( for gas stoves or while camping)

    1. Place tomatoes on a wire mesh directly on the open flames.

    2. Cook on medium flame under tomatoes are tender and charred on all sides and bursting with juice

    Make the Chokha

    1. Once you have roasted the tomatoes, allow to cool for a few minutes. Peel the skin off and finely chop the tomatoes

    2. Mix onions, cilantro, cumin, chili and salt into the tomatoes and then drizzle the oil on top

    3. Chill for an hour before serving


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