This recipe may seem odd, but it will surprise. The natural sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes jumps out when combined with the dipping sauce. This is my attempt to recreate the fresh tomato dish served at Tai-cheng’s Fruit Shop in Tainan (in Chinese this is called 番茄切盘 — fānqié qièpán). Try making this next time you have friends over for a BBQ as a pre-dinner snack. If nothing else, it will make for a (healthier) change from the ubiquitous potato chips.
This works best with large not-quite-ripe tomatoes; large, robust tomatoes such as ox hearts that are still slightly flecked with green but quite firm. (In Taiwan they often prefer to eat tropical fruits before they ripen.) The original recipe calls for caramalised soy sauce, but I find it works just as well with Indonesian kecap manis. Use whatever is easiest to find.
2 -3 large under-ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon kecap manis
1 dessertspoon soy sauce
Wash the tomatoes, dry and cut into quarters or eighths, depending on their size. Display on a small serving plate. In a small dipping bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir. Serve with toothpicks or small cocktail forks, allowing guests to dip the tomato pieces into the dipping sauce mixture.