Emergency Tomato Achaar! (Nepali Spicy Tomato Sauce)

Tomato Achaar is a spicy tomato sauce that adds “swaad” to each dish. “Swaad,” I suppose, is equivalent to “umami” or adding serious flavour to a dish. We add it to many things, but I personally think it tastes best with Momo’s, otherwise known as Nepali steamed gyoza (either Turkey or Vegetarian).

The other day I was wrapping up some leftover momos and then realised there were no tomatoes left in the house. Good lord, what was I going to do? You can’t eat momos without tomato achaar. Momos without tomato achaar is blasphemy! It’s like having getting a burrito without guacamole – it’s just not done! I had to think fast, because people were hungry, and it only took 13 minutes to steam up the momos. Then I remembered we always have a stash of canned tomatoes and some coriander we had frozen and bagged in the freezer. Here’s how I made some delicious achaar in under 10 minutes!

Tisha’s Emergency Tomato Achaar


  • 1 can of Napolina chopped tomatoes
  • 2 finger chillies, chopped (1 red, 1 green)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground Szechuan peppercorn (timur)
  • 1 tsp of demerara sugar
  • 1/4 a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1″ ginger, chopped
  • handful of frozen coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed powder
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons salt


  1. Open can of tomatoes and put into a small pot. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add all ingredients and grind into a paste.
  3. Eat with everything!