5 unknown but good substitutes for Tomatoes and Recipes

5 unknown but good substitutes for Tomatoes and Recipes
It is no longer news that Tomatoes presently is one of the highly priced food commodities in Nigeria. It is said that the shortest route to gaining a bride is to present a potential father-in law with a full basket of tomatoes. That is how scarce this essential food ingredient has become.
Watermelon soup by Wholechoice
Watermelon soup by Wholechoice

The reason for this scarcity is uncertain, some say it is due to the heavy rainfalls in the north spoiling most of the  tomato yield, others say it is due to the increasing poor security situation caused by the Boko haram militants which ah made successful transportation of tomatoes from North to south more dangerous than usual. Whatever the case, the lack of tomatoes has opened the eyes of   potential Agriculture investors to the opportunities in Tomato and pepper farming.

Why Tomatoes is used extensively in Nigerian cooking?
Tomatoes , infact form the bedrock of a typical Nigerian soup, they are the lifeblood of all stews, sauces and soups. They add color, flavor, richness, and acidity to the food.

While we hope for the best and pay this tomato famine passes soon, here are great alternatives that can be used as healthy substitutes to Tomatoes.

1. Red pepper:  (Tatashe, sonbo, ata rodo)( Bell pepper, Habanero pepper)

How to use red pepper as a substitute for tomatoes in soups.
Just include much of onions and water when blending or grinding the pepper to counteract the pepperish nature of most red peppers. 

How to make homemade roasted red pepper puree as a good substitute for tomato paste
 Just roast the red peppers in the oven, skin, puree in a blender, then reduce in a pan on the stove on low for a while. This way the puree will be thick like tomato paste. You can store it in the fridge for a 2-3 weeks or freeze in ice cube tray. Ideal for  soups, sauces and stew.

2. Prunes or plums:

How to make Prune Ketchup as a substitute for tomato ketchup

Ingredients: 12 diced prunes or dried plums

1/2 cup of  vinegar

1 up of water

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground clove

1/8 tsp black pepper
Preparation: Cook the prunes in water till they soften, add the rest of the items and blend with a  blender. To reduce the tanginess, add a little maple syrup or honey to taste.
Tip: You can Use either  plums, peaches or plums, whichever is readily available close to you. 

3. Egg plant or garden eggs

4. Carrots
How to make carrot puree as a substitute for tomato puree
Preparation: use a mixer to puree the carrots with 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Then add 1/2 tbsp of sugar and/or lemon juice and puree further until you reach a tomato-like level.

5. Apple sauce

Now is the time to cook more of vegetable soups, Ugu, Egusi, Ewedu, Okra, they do not require tomatoes to prepare. Though the tomato substitutes seem few especially when you are trying to achieve the unique tomato taste, don't give up just yet, there are other varieties to choose from, watermelon, molasses, olives, peanut butter,curry, coconut,  pumpkin, white bean. Just think of it, Watermelon soup!. 

Be creative, let the ideas fly.