Living in Madras, one would think making sun-dried tomatoes will be a breeze. Yes agreed, having access to the scorching sun almost through the year, has its advantage. However, with busy work life, it becomes impossible.
Especially when it has to be taken in, taken out, on a frequent basis, it becomes beyond the scope to do. When Athamma is at home, I can easily ask her to do it, feeling bad at asking her, still okay as she seems to love doing such tasks.
When she visits her daughter's place, I won't have anyone to do this task for me and I have to resort to other means to achieve the same results. While drying under the sun will surely bring in different flavours, it is time-consuming and you will have to wait for a while to get what you want.
I decided to do this the oven method when I had to bake the Tomato Basil Loaf, I had to use Sun-Dried Tomatoes and it was pretty late when I actually saw the recipe requires. So I decided resorting to baking would be the best method to achieve.
I quickly referred my filings as I remembered I have a couple of sheets exclusively for tomatoes and it had the Sundried recipe. I simply adapted to an oven method and had a deliciously dried tomato on hand.
Though a typical western Sun-Dried Tomatoes will not have turmeric, I am habit bound and can't think of making a savory, especially with a tomato, without turmeric. So I simply used it. Maybe that gave a delicious bright hue to the end product. For one batch, I even sprinkled crushed garlic and dry basil for more effect. All these went into the bread.
I used about 4 big ripe tomatoes, slit through the middle. Take them in a bowl, sprinkle rock salt and turmeric over them. Toss it for a couple of mins. Let it rest for 10 mins. Squeeze out the moisture, so you will lose the salt as well. In a greased baking tray, place the tomatoes spaced. Sprinkle a tsp olive oil on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 150 C for 10 mins.
Remove toss around the tomatoes, reduce the temperature to 100 C, bake it again for 10 mins.
Remove and sprinkle some more oil, a pinch of salt and bake for 20 mins at 100 C.
By this time the tomatoes will start to shrink. Add the crushed garlic if you want at this stage. Else toss again and sprinkle few drops of oil. Bake at 100 for 10 mins.
For the final stage, simply toss and bake again 10 mins or till almost shrunken.
Mine took nearly 70 mins to get to that stage.
In places, the tomatoes are slightly burnt as well.