I'll repost this here as I got no responses on the India/SE Asia boards and there are plenty of folks here who cook Indian food.
Some recipes for beet aloo bhaji (beets and potatoes) call for adding chopped tomatoes and some do not. We have an old family recipe that does but opted not to add the tomatoes. The combination of beets and tomatoes is not that appealing to me.
So we left out the tomatoes and cooked the beets and potatoes as usual with cumin seed, asafoetida, curry leaves and a few chiles and at the table used a dash of fire cider vinegar (homemade) and fresh chopped cilantro. It made the dish fresher tasting and is much improved from the old family recipe.
Still, I would like to know why the addition of tomatoes? What do they do in the dish?