About this recipe
South Indian-style tomato pickle is a spicy and tangy instant pickle that is served as an accompaniment. Also called tomato thokku or thakali thokku, it is very simple to make and can stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Tomato thokku not only tastes great with curd rice or just plain steamed rice, but it is also perfect with idli and dosa too. There are some versions of thokku with ginger garlic added, but I prefer to skip the ginger garlic and make it in a simpler way. This versatile pickle is something you don’t want to miss when tomatoes are in season.
Tomatoes: Use juicy ripe tomatoes to make this pickle.
Tamarind: Adding a little tamarind will make this pickle tangier. But if the tomatoes are very tangy, you may skip the tamarind.
Jaggery: Jaggery does not make this pickle sweet but it balances the tangy taste very well.
Spices: The whole spices I use are mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, which are dry-roasted and powdered.
Tempering: The pickle is finished with an easy tempering (tadka/seasoning) made with mustard seeds, hing, and curry leaves.
Dry roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Cool completely and grind into a fine powder (steps 1 and 2).
Saute tomatoes for a few minutes. Add tamarind and jaggery to it (step 3). Cook until the tomatoes get soft and mushy. Add the spice powders and salt (step 5).
Cook completely, then dry out the excess moisture (step 7). In a separate pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add the rest of the tempering ingredients (step 6).
Once the thokku thickens, add the tempering. Mix well, serve immediately, or store once it cools down (steps 7 and 8).
Use ripe and juicy tomatoes for the best-tasting thokku.
Do not add any water when cooking the tomatoes. Adding water will reduce the shelf life of the thokku.
Once the tomatoes are cooked, increase the heat and let the excess moisture dry. The pickle must release oil and should not have any moisture content.
Serving and storage tips
Tomato thokku tastes great as an accompaniment to lunch and dinner. It can also be served alongside other chutneys in South Indian breakfast.
You may toss it with hot steamed rice to make instant tomato rice. Whisk some thokku with yogurt for a delicious dip.
Store the tomato pickle in a clean and dry air-tight container in the refrigerator. It stays fresh for 1-2 weeks. Use a clean and dry spoon every time you use it. This way, the thokku will keep good for a longer time.
Tomato thokku can also be stored in the freezer. Cool the thokku completely, portion it, and place it in a freezer-safe container. Freeze it for up to three months. The easiest way to portion and freeze it is by using an ice tray. Place the tomato thokku in an ice tray and let it freeze. Transfer it to a container and store it in the freezer. Thaw the thokku in the refrigerator overnight before using it.
This tomato pickle is:
- tangy, flavourful, and delicious
- great as a side dish too
- a good way of using up overripe tomatoes
If you liked this recipe, please don't forget to give a 5-star rating and leave a comment below.
Tomato Pickle (Thakkali Thokku)
- 8-10 tomatoes roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 1½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds methi
- 1 tablespoon tamarind
- 1 teaspoon jaggery
- ½-¾ teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon asafoetida hing
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- Dry roast 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds until aromatic. Cool completely and grind into a fine powder. Set it aside.
- Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai and add the tomatoes. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add tamarind and jaggery. Mix well, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the mustard-fenugreek powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well, cover, and let it simmer until the tomatoes are fully cooked.
- Remove the cover to dry out all the excess moisture. Cook until the pickle becomes thick and the oil starts to separate. Keep stirring at regular intervals so that it doesn’t burn.
- In another small pan heat 2 teaspoon oil and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add hing and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds. The tempering is ready
- Add this tempering to the pickle and mix well.
- Cool completely. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Leave a Reply