1 or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium white onions, chopped (about 2 1/4 cups)
6 ripe tomatoes, chopped (and seeded if desired; about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Green chili pepper, such as 1/2 medium jalapeno pepper (seeded), finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt (optional)
Light brown sugar (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the mustard, fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds. When you hear mustard seeds pop, add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring, until they have softened.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric, chili pepper (to taste) and the garlic. Add salt, if desired; cook uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. A rich, deep flavor will develop; it should start spicy on your tongue and finish sweet. If tomatoes were not as sweet as you would have liked, sprinkle some of the brown sugar, if desired, into curry as it cooks.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— Recipe from Mehan Dossani, finalist in The Washington Post's Top Tomato contest.