Thakkali thokku (tomato pickle)

This got done on the last evening of my mom’s summer 2018 dubai trip :). Really, I am super shameless especially when it comes to my mom. I still treat her like a top that I own & expect her to spin to my tunes and poor/ useless her, she complies :). Anywho, this is one of those recipes of my mom’s I love love & been wanting to document. I ideally need to write down the recipes I want made by her which I didn’t know & haven’t done yet. Anywho, the last evening that we were at home was my eureka moment for this :). She was pretty cool though mil was telling me that I shouldn’t be troubling her on her last day & that she should just chill. Mil & mom both strongly believe any recipe that has to be documented by me is no means of CHILL for them 😀 (I might have mentioned this in multiple other posts but honestly, this is the bare truth). Anywho, the gods were with me cos mom was absolutely game in doing this (which wasn’t surprising) and the required tomatoes (perfect ripe ones) were in the house (the thank god part). Pretty much all the ingredients that go in this dish including the tomatoes are staple in almost every household I am sure. This dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare but doesn’t really require you standing next to it all the time. You can keep an eye on it & carry on with your other tasks. This is pretty much what I love a lot about our Indian cooking. A lot of dishes, you can put it on the stove (or any other kitchen gadget) and just keep an eye on it while doing other things. Dishes that require close attention mostly get done quickly or are dishes that are done for occasions (which makes it worthy :D).

Anywho, jumping into the recipe bit with a small note on the photo below (how can I not comment on it).

  1. Adya, the hand model yet again :). I love it when I click such shots. Funny bit is how D doesn’t realise it’s Adya’s hands :). I loved the pic in this post as well & had given the reasons for the same in the post. As sad as it sounds, my own husband doesn’t read my blog posts & so he didn’t realise it was Adya’s hands. As per D, he supports me by liking & sometimes commenting on FB :D. I am trashing him here happily presuming he won’t read this post as well muhahahaha. 
  2. Those tomatoes in the pic which add such a vibrant colour – whenever I look at some beautiful insta images of food, I end up liking those that have the base ingredients thrown around carelessly yet beautifully around the dish and I always wanted to do that. For most of my dishes, the star ingredient that I could show case ends up getting consumed completely & I am not left with something to show case during the final pic click :D. Tomatoes being a staple were thankfully there in plenty even after this pickle was made & it also struck me at the right time to use it. A good final pic = A very very happy me :D. With this, I promise to jump straight to the recipe – my mom’s amazing tomato thokku :D.

Thakkali thokku (Tomato pickle)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Course: Dips
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 1 cups
  • 3 big ripe tomatoes
  • 4 tsp gingelly/ sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp channa dal/ split chickpeas
  • 1/2 tbsp urad dal/ black gram
  • few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp asafodita
  • 2 nos green chillies
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder if you want it less spicy, add 1.5 tsp of RCP
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a mixer jar, grind the tomatoes to a smooth puree. 

  2. In a pan/ kadai, heat some oil & add mustard seeds.

  3. Once it starts to splutter, throw in the asafodita. 

  4. Just in a few seconds, add the channa dal/split chickpeas & urad dal/ black gram & saute till they start to brown. 

  5. At this stage, add the finely chopped green chillies & some curry leaves. Saute for a bit. 

  6. Pour in the ground tomato puree & the spices along with it - turmeric, red chilli powder & salt. Mix well. Keep the heat on medium-high. 

  7. Every few minutes once, stir the mixture well & scrape off the sides as well. 

  8. As time goes, the mixture will thicken & the colour will change as well. 

  9. You will be done in about 25-30 minutes & you will know the pickle is ready when the pickle mixture starts to leave the sides of the vessel. 

  10. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container & store in a refrigerator. Use within 7-10 days. 

Recipe Notes
  1. You can let it stay on a bit longer as well if you want longer shelf life. The way my mom does, there is still a little bit of water left in the pickle which to me is perfect. 
  2. You can just chop the tomatoes finely instead of pureeing. I have grown up eating this form & hence prefer this.
  3. You can adjust the spice to your taste levels. This one is a bit spicy but not too spicy as well. Spice lovers can even add an extra tsp of red chilli powder :). 

Stepwise pictures

Wash & chop up the tomatoes & place them in a mixer jar.

Grind till you have a smooth puree.

In a pan/ kadai, heat some oil.

To this, add mustard seeds & wait for it to splutter. Then, add asafodita.

Add channa dal & urad dal & allow it to start browning. At this stage, add chopped up green chillies & curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds.

Now add the pureed tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder & salt. Mix well.

Stir every few minutes once on a medium-high heat.

You will notice the puree getting thicker and the over all quantity decreasing.

The thokku/ pickle will start bubbling and getting even thicker.

After around 25-30 minutes, the pickle will be ready. You will know it’s ready when the pickle leaves the sides of the vessel (as in this pic). Turn off the heat.

Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container & refrigerate. Stays well in the fridge for 7-10 days.

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