Chutney Chow-down – Tomato Thokku

Continuing on our Chutney Chow-down trail, we’re cooking up a variant of the delightful Tomato Thokku from Southern India. Part pickle, part chutney, this tangy concoction stays well in a bottle or jar for 2-3 days without refrigeration, so it’s perfect to pack up for a long road trip. Use it to enliven a routine bread-butter sandwich, add some zip to your bagel that’s smeared with humdrum cream cheese or as a side with puris or paranthas. It can even be mixed into plain steamed rice (along with a glob of ghee) for an impromptu tomato-rice. As with any pickle or chutney, the spices are key to the lip-smacking taste, and here it is fenugreek powder that delivers complex undertones to the sweet and sour notes of the tomato.

Tomato Pickle
(Makes about 1 Cup)

6-8 Dried red chillies

1 Tablespoon sized piece of tamarind

Dry Powder –
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon fenugreek/methi seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon black gram/urad dal

8 Medium Tomatoes

¼ Cup sesame/gingelly/til oil

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

Large pinch asafoetida/hing

¼ Teaspoon turmeric/haldi

1 sprig curry leaves

Soak the red chillies and tamarind in half a cup or less of hot water. Use less water to reduce the total cooking time. Roast the dals/spices together on a hot tava/skillet until lightly browned. Cool and grind them to a powder.

Once the soaked chillies and tamarind are soft, remove the chillies, and extract the tamarind pulp. Purée the tomatoes and chillies in a blender. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed and high-sided saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Sprinkle in the asafoetida, then add curry leaves. After a few seconds, add the turmeric powder and then pour in the tomato-chilli mixture and the tamarind. Cook for a while, stirring occasionally, keeping the pan partially covered if it is splattering too much. Once it reduces to a thick paste, add the powdered spices. Cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Cool and store in a clean glass jar. Refrigerate and use over a week.

Note –

  • Red chilli powder can be substituted instead of the dried chillies. Add about 2-3 teaspoons into the oil along with the turmeric.
  • Use tamarind paste instead of soaking the tamarind. About a teaspoon or so should be good.

Adapted from – Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day by Padma Lakshmi

Our Tomato Thokku is being shared with –



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32 Responses to Chutney Chow-down – Tomato Thokku

  1. aipi says:

    Love that gorgeous red color ~ your chutney looks very appetizing!

  2. Uma says:

    Looks so tempting and delicious. Lovely chutney.

  3. Alea Milham says:

    Perfect timing! My tomatoes are ripening faster than we can eat them. I am really excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  4. Geetali says:

    Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks for another gem from your vasr repertoire.

  5. kankana says:

    This recipe took me back to Bangalore. One of my friend makes something similar and then she will serve that tomato chutney with dosa. I always loved it and kind of miss it at times. This looks so lovely.

  6. myFudo says:

    looks delicious, this is a must try. Love your site.

  7. thats a spicy inviting chutney..can’t wait to try this..

  8. Gorgeous! And I love spices and have so many fresh garden tomatoes to use, I HAVE to make this!

  9. Hi Dear, wow, that looks so amazing and hot and spicy and would love to smear it on a bread and eat it 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this for bookmarked event. But, dear, We have changed rules a bit and please go through them. From now on, re-writing someone’s recipe is not allowed and only a link needs to be posted in your post with all the modifications or tweaks you made to the recipe. Or if it is a recipe from book or magazine, please scan and post the recipe page, but don’t write the real recipe. We are not allowing recipes from memories or some friend anymore as this is a “bookmarked” recipe event. Hope it makes sense. Please make appropriate changes to your post with respect to these rules.

    • Tadka Pasta says:

      Thanks for coming by and letting us know. We’re unable to find an option to remove our post from your linky list, please delete our link and just to let you know, we’ve removed the reference to your event from our page.

  10. Kelly says:

    Wow this looks so delicious and I LOVE your pictures! Great blog you have, so glad to be a new follower! xoxo

  11. Swathi says:

    Looks delicious, amma makes easy version of this without spice powder.

  12. Claire says:

    This looks fantastic! I love fenugreek in (nearly) anything. Bookmarked!

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  15. Janice says:

    What a vibrant colour, and with all those chillis I’m sure it packs a punch.

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