Friday, March 20, 2009

Thakkali thokku - a spicy 'n tangy tomato pickle

The trimurtis (three presiding deities) of my kitchen are onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Without these three ingredients, I'd be lost.....not knowing what to cook.
Like the original holy trinity of Indian mythology, these ingredients too are involved in Srishti (creation of exciting new dishes), and Sthithi (maintenance of our health). Luckily, there has been no Samharam (casualty/death) so far. Let's keep our fingers crossed, shall we???
The price of tomatoes in my part of the world has touched rock bottom at rupees 4. Not a small drop, considering that a few months back it was being sold for close to Rs 30. So, with a price drop like that, I couldn't resist picking up some at the local market.
Tangy, spicy tomato thokku is something that I love. Though making it takes up some time, it is quite a simple process and most of the ingredients are readily available in an Indian kitchen.What you need:

Juicy, ripe red tomatoes - 12, medium sized - pureed
Gingely oil - 9 tsp
Mustard seeds - 3/4 tsp
Urad dal - 3/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - 2 or 3, minced fine
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - to taste
Salt - to taste

Heat 7 tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the minced green chillies, mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, and fenugreek seeds. When the mustard seeds sputter, add the pureed tomatoes. Stir well. Add turmeric powder, red chilli pwder and salt. Let it come to a rolling boil. Now reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and let it simmer stirring occasionally. It will take close to an hour for all the moisture to evaporate. When it is almost done, add the remaining two tsp of oil. Once it loses all moisture, switch off the heat and let it cool completely.
Store in a clean, airtight jar.
This can be refrigerated and will stay good for upto a fortnight.
It can be used as an accompaniment to a variety of foods including, but not limited to, rice, idli, dosa, roti,and bread.

  • If you'd like, you can blanch the tomatoes in hot water first, remove the skin and then puree it.
  • Instead of pureeing you can chop the tomatoes into tiny pieces and then follow the same recipe.
  • A little bit of tamarind paste can be added if the tomatoes are not sour.
  • You can also add some asafoetida along with the tempering ingredients.
This month, Sanghi who is celebrating her 50th post on her blog has asked us to Fall in Love with Tomatoes.....and that's exactly what I've done. This entry goes to her.