• June 27, 2022

Tomato Pickle Recipe | Tomato Thokku (Thakkali Thokku)

Share this Article

This South Indian style Tomato Pickle also known as Tomato Thokku (or Thakkali Thokku) is tangy, spiced, umami pickle made with fresh tomatoes, tamarind, spices and herbs. This instant recipe comes together in about 40 minutes and makes for a flavorful condiment to go with your South Indian meals or breakfast.

tomato pickle or tomato thokku in white bowl with ragi dosa in a white plate above.

About Tomato Thokku

Tomato Thokku is a variety of a pickle or relish from the South Indian cuisine. In Tamil language this condiment is called “Thakkali Thokku” coming after the Tamil word for tomatoes which is ‘Thakkali’.

There are may ways this pickle is made. My recipe is a simple and yet easy that features fresh tangy tomatoes, tart tamarind, savory spices and herbs. It also does not have any onion or garlic.

Generally thokku are made in large quantities, but I usually make a small batch that keeps well for about a week. You could easily scale the recipe and make a batch that could last for a month.

Mostly Indian meals are never complete without a pickle. Like most pickles this tomato pickles is best served as a side condiment with any South Indian meal.

I also serve with Khichdi or Pulao. You can also enjoy tomato thokku with idli, dosa or even just plain bread or plain steamed rice.

Thakkali Thokku can be stored in the refrigerator for nearly about a week. If you want to serve for a long time, just add some more oil in the recipe.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Tomato Pickle

Prep

1. Measure and prep all the ingredients and keep everything ready before you begin to cook the recipe.

Begin by rinse 300 grams or 3 to 4 medium-sized tomatoes first a few times in water. Then chop them roughly. You will need about 2 to 2.25 cups chopped tomatoes.

Also set aside the spices, herbs and that will be needed to make the pickle. Rinse curry leaves and thoroughly dry them and set aside. Break or halve the dry red chillies and remove their seeds.

Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 teaspoon tightly packed tamarind or ¼ teaspoon tamarind paste to a blender or mixer-grinder.

Make sure the tamarind does not have any seeds.

chopped tomatoes and tamarind in a blender.

2. Blend to a smooth and fine tomato puree without any chunks. Do not add any water while blending tomatoes.

ground tomato and tamarind puree.

Sauté Spices and Tomato Puree

3. In a pan, heat oil. Preferably use sesame oil made from raw sesame seeds, also called as gingelly oil. If out of sesame oil, add sunflower oil or any neutral tasting oil.

Keep the heat to a low. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram).

lentils and mustard in hot oil.

4. Fry till they sizzle, crackle and the urad dal turns golden. Keep stirring often.

lentils fried golden in oil.

5. Add 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger (optional), 10 to 12 curry leaves and 1 dry red chili (preferably broken and seeds removed).

Mix and fry for a few seconds until the raw aroma of ginger goes away, the red chillies change color and the curry leaves look crisp.

All the frying should be done on a low heat, so that the spices do not get burnt.

red chillies and curry leaves in oil.

6. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder and ⅛ teaspoon asafoetida (hing) or about 2 to 3 pinches.

ground spices in oil.

7. Mix well on low heat.

ground spices mixed in oil.

8. Then add the tomato-tamarind puree. Take care as the tomato puree will splutter.

tomato puree in pan.

9. Stir the mixture very well. Season with salt according to taste.

salt added to tomato puree in pan.

Make Tomato Pickle

10. Cover with lid and cook the tomato chutney on low to medium-low heat. The chutney mixture splutters so better to cover the pan with a lid and simmer until the mixture stops spluttering.

pan with glass lid.

11. Stir at intervals and check the pickle mixture. If the chutney mixture has stopped spluttering remove the lid and continue to cook without lid.

simmering tomato pickle in pan with a spoon inside.

12. Cook on a low heat to medium-low heat for a total of 15 to 18 minutes or more (with and without lid) until the pickle consistency thickens and you see oil on the top or at sides.

The tomatoes will also get cooked by this time. Do stir at intervals.

thickened and cooked tomato thokku.

13. Add ¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder (20 to 22 fenugreek seeds crushed to fine powder in mortar pestle), 1 teaspoon jaggery or add as required (optional) and 1 tablespoon sesame oil.

jaggery and ground fenugreek in tomato pickle mixture.

14. Mix well and continue to cook tomato thokku for 2 to 3 minutes on a low heat.

tomato pickle cooking further in pan.

15. Once cooled, store tomato pickle in a small clean, dry, airtight glass jar. Tomato thokku can be kept in the refrigerator and stored for about a about a week or more.

Serve tomato thokku as a side condiment with a South Indian main course or with idli or dosa or with steamed rice.

tomato thokku in pan.

16. You can make a large batch of the recipe. But I would suggest to add more oil when you make a larger batch so that the tomato pickle has a longer life. Store the thakkali thokku in a clean, dry, glass jar and refrigerate.

Enjoy with pongal, khichdi, curd rice, steamed rice, ghee rice or idli or dosa. Or serve with roti or toasted bread.

tomato pickle in white bowl with a spoon inside.

More Tomato Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate this recipe in the recipe card below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

tomato pickle in a white bowl.

Tomato Pickle | Tomato Thokku (Thakkali Thokku)

This South Indian style Tomato Pickle also known as Tomato Thokku is tangy, spiced, umami pickle made with fresh tomatoes, tamarind, spices and herbs. This quick recipe makes for a flavorful condiment to go with your South Indian meals.

4.67 from 6 votes

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 40 mins

For Tomato Puree

Other Ingredients

  • In a blender, puree the tomatoes with tamarind. Do not add any water while blending.

  • In a pan, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Fry till they crackle and the urad dal turns golden.

  • Now add chopped ginger, curry leaves and red chillies. Fry for few seconds till the raw aroma of the ginger disappears and the red chillies change color.

  • All the frying should be done on a low heat, so that the spices do not get burnt.

  • Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and red chili powder and mix very well. 

  • Add the tomato-tamarind puree and mix very well. 

  • Season with salt according to taste.

  • Cover pan with a lid and simmer on low to medium-low heat till the tomato puree stops spluttering.

  • When the puree stops spluttering, remove lid and cook without lid on low to medium-low heat. Stir at intervals.

  • Cook on low to medium-low heat for a total time of 15 to 18 minutes or more (with and without lid) till the tomato pickle mixture thickens and you see oil on the top or at the sides. The mixture will also look glossy. 

  • Lastly add the fenugreek powder, sesame oil and jaggery. Mix well and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on a low heat.

  • When mixture cools, store in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar or a lidded bowl while serving. Always refrigerate this pickle. If you want to store it for more days, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons more oil.
  • Tomato Thokku keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week. Remember to always use a dry clean spoon when removing it from the jar or bowl.

  • Use ripe, red tomatoes. This recipe works well with both the larger variety of tomatoes which are not very tangy or the desi varieties which are more tart and sour.
  • To make the pickle more spicy, add more red chilli powder if you prefer.
  • For a gluten-free recipe, skip adding asafoetida. 
  • To make a big batch of this tomato pickle, simply scale the recipe. You may add more oil when scaling the recipe up, so that the pickle is preserved for a longer time.

Nutrition Facts

Tomato Pickle | Tomato Thokku (Thakkali Thokku)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 210 Calories from Fat 171

% Daily Value*

Fat 19g29%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Polyunsaturated Fat 8g

Monounsaturated Fat 8g

Sodium 406mg18%

Potassium 321mg9%

Carbohydrates 9g3%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 1295IU26%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.05mg3%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 39mg195%

Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%

Vitamin C 102mg124%

Vitamin E 1mg7%

Vitamin K 13µg12%

Calcium 33mg3%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 412µg103%

Iron 1mg6%

Magnesium 21mg5%

Phosphorus 41mg4%

Zinc 0.3mg2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This Tomato Pickle Recipe post from the blog archives first published in June 2010 has been republished and updated on 27 Jun 2022.


Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.