Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thakkali Thokku / Tomato Pickle..

Thakkali thokku is one of my favourite items among the many dishes that my mother makes. It is a general practice in our house to make and store some kind of thokku, or vatha kuzhambu or pulikaachal. In fact, when it is the season for tomatoes, I remember my mother used to make a lot of tomato delicacies such as thokku, jam, jiuce etc.
This tomato thokku is a very simple one of its kind with very few ingredients.
Here is the recipe:


Tomatoes- 6 large nos. (medium ripe)

Tamarind- a small lemon size ball

Gingely oil or veg Oil- 3 to 4 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Dry red chillies-10 nos. (can adjust according to spice levels)

Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp (optnl)

Asafoetida or Hing- 1/4 tsp

Turmeric- a pinch

Jaggery- a gooseberry size ball (optnl)

Curry leaves- a few

Salt to taste


1.Wash the tomatoes well and blend them along with the red chillies, tamarind and salt in to a puree without adding any water.

2.Heat oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter followed by the curry leaves, turmeric and hing.

3.Add the pureed tomato paste to the pan and let it cook.

4.Keep the heat on medium low and slow cook the mixture for about 30 to 45 minutes adding salt when the raw smell of the tomatoes is diffused. (approximately after 15- 20 minutes)

5.Stir the mixture once in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Check for salt and spice levels and adjust accordingly when it has cooked for about half an hour or more.

6.When the mixture thickens to form a paste and oil starts to ooze out from its corners, add the jaggery, give it a stir and switch off the heat.

7.Let it cool completely and store it in an airtight tight container. I usually don't refrigerate it immediately, cos I feel it becomes dry soon. But again, if you live in a hot place, it is better to refrigerate it.
Now after transferring the thokku to a container, it is customary in our houses to add cooked rice and mix it with the leftovers of the thokku in the pan. Believe me this is the best part and I still remember v as kids used to fight for that ball of thokku rice!Not only for this thokku, but for any kaara curry or stir fry vegetable!

8.The thokku tastes good with most of the south Indian tiffin items such as idli, dosa, upma, adai etc..
Y, even with hot steaming rice and a dollop of ghee or a few drops of gingely oil on it!

That was hot steaming pidi kuzhakkattai and freshly made thakkali thokku!

Note: When the mixture is boiling, it usually splashes a lot on the sides of the pan and the surrounding area which is very normal.
Slow cooking is very important ,so do not hasten the cooking process or increase the heat.
Oil is an important preservative for any kind or thokku or pickle. Do not reduce the quantity of oil.
You can also add a tablespoon of roasted and finely powdered fenugreek and mustard seeds to the thokku before switching off the heat as it gives a more authentic pickle taste. 
Please ensure to use a clean and dry spoon for the thokku. Any moisture or water in the spoon can  cause fungus formation in the pickle thus reducing its life.


  1. Nice color thokku. I love that pidi kozukattai. It's my fav.

  2. Can you pls post pidi kozhakkattai recipe.. :)

  3. Sure Rema.. will post it soon..