Tomato Thokku is a simple pickle made out of Tomato. This is not a regular pickle item of Tanjore cuisine. I came to know about Tomato pickle only when I went for a brief official trip to Japan. In those days, practically Indian food availability in Japan was Nil. There was a Asian market near Akiabara (Guess I remember the place correctly) where North Indian and Pakistani food grains would be available. Even there, south Indian spices and food items will not be available.
Being a strict vegetarian, surviving in Japan was a herculean task. One of my Jain friend and I have a huge difficulty in even selecting food from supermarket. We used to save empty cartons of used food items such as Prinkles, Juices, Milk and Yogurt safely and use them to buy identical cartons next time.
When we went we carried loads of pickles and ready made rasam, vathakuzhambu paste and along with that is this tomato pickle. That is when I tasted it and it was yummy. From then it is a regular food item in our house and my children like tomato pickle very much.
Tomato thokku is a processed form of tomato and I will write a separate post on the very many ways I use this pickle in cooking. It is a simple dish and do make it at home and enjoy.
- 500 grams Tomato Red ripe
- 1 Tbsp Methi seeds
- 4 Tbsp Oil Gingellly oil preferred
- 1 Tsp Mustard
- 1 Tsp Chilli powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Asefoetida
- 1 Spring Curry leaves Optional
Wash and grind tomato into fine paste in a mixer. You need not strain the paste and hence grind it well to ensure that there are no lumps.
In a kadai, dry roast methi seeds till they turn black. Do not burn methi, roast them in low flame till nice aroma arises and fine powder it in a mixer. Methi offsets spice level and clams stomach. Invariably in all pickles I use methi seeds powder. In the same kadai, add gingelly oil. When it is hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. If you are using curry leaves, add it at this stage (I had not added).
Add the ground tomato paste to the kadai and start cooking it in medium flame. Tomato will splutter when water evaporates. Simmer it and cook it in open kadai. Add Asefoetida, chilli powder and salt. Cook it the whole paste thickens.
At some stage tomato will turn into one mass. At this stage add the ground methi seeds and mix well. Do not cook more after adding methi seeds. It would affect the color and also turn a bit bitter.
Store in a airtight container.
*You can add a pinch of turmeric powder to the thokku if tomatoes are not very ripe.
*Thokku stays fresh for up a week when kept outside. In fridge it has longer shelf life. Always use a dry spoon.
*If you want to pickle this to stay for months, before adding methi seeds, add 50-100grams of hot gingelly oil and cook further. The mass would loose all water in hot oil and oil would float. At this stage bottle it in dry bottle with atleast one inch of oil floating on top of the bottle. This pickle would stay for 6 to 9 months. Commercial pickles are made this way.
Here are few items that I used to make this Thokku
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Tomato Thokku-Tomato Pickle-Step by Step pictures
*Wash and grind Tomatoes.
*Dry roast methi seeds and grind. Add oil in the kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
*Add ground tomatoes along with chilli powder, salt and Asefoetida. Cook till water evaporates.
*When tomatoes turn to a mass, add ground methi seeds.
*Mix well and remove from stove.
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