Trinidad Tomato Choka

15.7.22 | Recipe by Renz

An easy recipe for making Trinidad tomato choka. A roasted tomato dish with a deep smoky flavor that can easily be eaten during any meal. This flavorful dish is perfect for just about anything.

A white pot of trinidad tomato choka with sada roti dipped in the bowl and salt and pepper on the side to season.

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I love being from such a multicultural community. It allows us the opportunity to try so many delicious dishes from different cultures.

Tomato choka is a popular treat for us. It's a nice roasted tomato dish that is infused with onions and garlic and some pepper.

This is a simple recipe, that creates a dish that is bursting with a huge depth of flavor. A nice, saucy tomato dish. The perfect sauce that makes you just want to sap it up so quickly.

Sometimes there's a dish that you just all of a sudden feel for and you decide you just must make. It doesn't happen often, but when that urge strikes it's to just get it made.

That was me with this tomato choka this week. And hopefully, it would be you after reading this post.


What is choka in cooking?

Choka is not an ingredient in this dish. It's actually a specific method of cooking.

It is a cooking technique that is derived from our East Indian community.

The process is basically roasting a vegetable or meat so that it gets a deep, roasted smokey flavor.

The best method of making this dish is to do it on an open flame. This gives the vegetable a nice charred flavor. then pouring hot oil, with spices.

We also have baigan choka (which is melongene or eggplant) and coconut choka.

Unfortunately for me, I don't have a gas range or anything that I can use to roast so I had to resort to using the next best option, my oven.

So this is a bit of the non-traditional tomato choka but just as good.

What is in tomato Choka?

Choka is pretty easy to make and it uses a few ingredients. Cooking it just smells amazing and just reminds me of how flavorful our food is.

A picture of the ingredients for making tomato choka.

  • Ripe tomatoes - the riper the tomatoes the better. This would produce a juicier, more flavorful choka. If you use a green tomato it will take longer to roast and would not be as sweet. I try to use either Roma tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes. These are both full of flavor. Leftover tomatoes are also great options as they are the point of being really ripe.
  • Black pepper.
  • Garlic clove.
  • Salt.
  • Hot peppers - you can use any you like. Scotch bonnet pepper, scorpion pepper. You can also double up the peppers if you want some extra heat.
  • Olive oil.
  • Onion.


Fork/Potato masher
Large bowl
Aluminum foil
Baking sheet
Pestleand mortar

How to make tomato choka

The flavors are intense in this dish, but it really does not need a lot of work for that. We are getting the best of the raw tomatoes.

Wash the tomatoes

Since we are going to be roasting the tomatoes in their skin, we want to make sure that they are well cleaned up.

When washing, look for any debris that may be stuck on there, black marks, and bruises. If they happen to have green stubs on, remove them before roasting.

Roasting the tomatoes

Place the cleaned tomatoes on a foiled rimmed baking sheet with some oil. We are going to bake them for about 25 minutes, or until you get charred skin. It will look wilted.

You can also use your broiler. Depending on your stove broiling can take about 15 - 20 minutes to get your tomatoes charred.

Note: If you are using large tomatoes and those that aren't too ripe it will take a little longer for the tomato skins to start getting wilted.

An image of tomatoes before roasting and after roasting in the oven.

Removing the tomato skin

Once roasted, the skin would be able to be removed easily to get to the tomato flesh.

Let it cool a little then use two forks to get the skin off. Pull the forks back on them to easily pull away from the skin. Discard the hard head of the tomatoes

I suggest doing the removal in a large bowl so that you can save the juices that are going to spring while removing the skin.

Add the tomatoes to a bowl and crush with the fork or potato masher. Remove any of the hard parts of the core that may be in there.

Picture of roasted tomato flesh with the skin removed.

Combining the choka

With your pestle and mortar or a fork, smash garlic and hot peppers together.

You can use these fresh or you can also roast the garlic and the pepper with the tomatoes for added depth. Just only do them for about 10 minutes. You want to roast the garlic until brown.

Image of crushed peppers and garlic in a white bowl.

Combine the tomatoes and the crushed pepper and garlic cloves.

Add your chopped-up raw onions and combine.

A picture of tomatoes, onions and peppers combined.

This is a recipe you can adjust to taste as it relates to pepper.

Now is a good time to taste test. Season with salt and black pepper if needed. And more hot pepper if desired.

On medium heat on the stove, get your oil heated till it's just about to smoke, then transfer the mixture to the tomato mixture.

Combine well. And now your choka is ready to be served.

What do we eat choka with?

The most common thing is to have some tomato choka paired with some sada roti. It's like naan bread and works great to dip up the tomato sauces.

This combination is very popular as a breakfast pair.

We also make a lunch option with it, eating it alongside some curry chicken and roti or with dhal and rice.

Sometimes I am a little unconventional and pair it with some grilled cheese. This option is amazing. It's almost like tomato soup with grilled cheese but with a chunky, heavily flavored soup.

Another great combination is tomato choka with some saltfish and fried bodi.

Final combination of roasted Trinidad tomato choka.

How do you store tomato choka?

This is fine to store in the fridge for up to five days. Just make sure you keep it in an air-tight container. Avoid getting moisture in.

This can also be frozen for up to about a month.

How to reheat tomato choka

From the fridge, this is fine to be heated up in the microwave. Give it 45 seconds spurts until warmed through.

You can also warm it up on the stove. Put it into a deep pot, and simmer until warmed through. 

From frozen, place it in the fridge overnight if possible then add it to a pot and simmer till warmed. 

You can also warm up some more oil to re-add when warmed up and add some chopped cilantro for garnish and to make it fresh.

Close up of a full bowl of tomato choka with a slice of sada roti.


Tomatoes: Though it doesn't matter what type you use it is important to use ones that are naturally juicy and flavorful tomatoes.

If you don't want it to be too hot, remove the seeds and membrane of your peppers. These are the hottest parts of the pepper. You can always add more pepper later down if you need to up the levels.

Outside grill: This can be done on an outdoor grill or open flame (the traditional way). Follow the same directions. Grill onions till the skin starts to char. 

Liquid smoke: If you want to give it a little smokiness you can try adding some liquid smoke. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon and then adjust if you like more.

Did I mention how intense the taste is?

If you have never had choka before and I suggest you give it a try.

Go ahead and check out some other dishes we consider Caribbean condiments: