Saar is one of the elements of a Maharashtrian meal. Tomato saar and Kokum saar are the most popular. Saar is similar to a soup but of a thinner consistency. Think of it as a consomme. However, unlike soups, it is served with the main course. It is usually served with rice, khichdi or by itself like a soup.
There are a couple different ways to make tomato saar, but I generally use the following method.
5 ripe tomatoes
2 tsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cumin powder (optional)
1/2 tsp asafoetida
3/4 green chillies (less if you want it to be too hot)
A couple of sprigs of cilantro (optional)
Start by boiling tomatoes for about 10 minutes. Remove the skin and puree them by adding some water. Strain this puree in a pot and add salt and sugar. Add water as needed and let the saar boil. In another pan temper ghee with cumin seeds, asafoetida and green chillies. Add cumin powder if you like. I generally use it because ghee infused with cumin gives saar a nice flavor. Now add this tempering to the boiling saar and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. You can also add some coarsely chopped cilantro if you like. Serve hot. The heat from chillies gives it a nice kick and natural sweetness of tomatoes coupled with sugar adds to the sweetness.