Monday, March 8, 2010

T for Thokku (Tomato Pickle/Chutney)

March 8th 2010

This recipe is the sole reason we want to plant tomatoes in our backyard this summer. This, and of course Rasam. This goes very well with chappatis, plain or curd (yogurt) rice, bread, naan, even Keebler crackers. Yeah, with just about anything.  I recently made a grilled cheese-thokku sandwich (recipe coming up soon) and like I said the possibilities are endless.

Difficulty level : Medium

Time: 30 min -1 hr ( depending on how many tomatoes you take)

  • Tomatoes ( 6-7 pounds) [ On the Vine is suited best, Romas work well too]
  • Oil ( ~ 1 cup or so I think)
  • salt (to taste)
  • chilly powder (1 tbsp)
  • asafoetida ( two pinches)
  • Roasted Fenugreek powder ( 1 tsp)
  • Tamarind Paste (~ 1 tsp)
  • Mustard (~ 2 tbsp)
Method de Preparation
  1. Take a little bit of oil ( about 3-4 tbsp) in a deep vessel and allow to heat.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes in them ( yes, all 7 pounds of them).
  3. Add the turmeric and a little bit of salt ( ~ 1 tsp) and then allow to cook.
  4. This is the long part. You need to allow all the water in the tomatoes to evaporate and get absorbed and this mixture will reduce to a thick paste like consistency. Takes a good 1/2  hour for tomatoes this quantity.
  5. Add oil (~ 1 tbsp)  a couple of times in between so the tomatoes show the oil glaze. Adding oil and sauteing in between gives a roasted taste to the tomatoes unlike the slightly raw taste that comes from adding the oil only at the end.
  6. While the tomates are condensing, dry roast some fenugreek seeds and grind into a powder. Can make more and store, it comes in handy and does not spoil easy.
  7. In another small pan, heat some oil ( about 1/2 cup) and add the mustard seeds. Allow it to splutter, add the asafoetida and turn off heat. When cooled some, add the chilly powder to this.
  8. When the tomatoes have reduced to about 1/8th or so of the original quantity, add a tsp of thick tamarind paste ( I prefer Laxmi brand that you get in any local Indian stores) and allow to condense some more.  
  9. Pour the oil with mustard used for seasoning over this paste and allow to cook well together.
  10. Add additional salt if required.
  11. When done, there should be some excess oil on the sides, if not the amount is insufficient and your thokku will spoil soon.
  12. Enjoy with rice, chappatis , plain or pita bread or just with your fingers :P
P.S.  6-7 pounds of tomatoes gives enough for a 32 oz container.

Chef's Tip:  You could just season in some oil - mustard, urad and chana dhal, curry leaves and some peanuts, add this paste, mix with some rice and you could have a version of tomato rice ready for lunch, in no time.

Variation:  You could use chopped tomatoes ( in cans), but the original tastes best as always!




MaySan said...

Canned is good, but agree that the original does taste much better.

Anonymous said...

the thooku i make has onions in it, but mine is for immediate use, cant store it. i simply fry both vengayam and thakali with all the spices.


Anu Karthik said...

@ mayur: aye aye
@ anita: yup more like tomato chutney that goes well with dosa, idlis too.this one takes a while to make but so good to have in store.

Meera said...

Pic looks good. Storage in Pavels container... awesome. Figured out that thokku, Pulikachal and gun powder are best for last minute lunch deals :D
Besides they are best suited for travel with parents...when they dont want to eat bread and eggs :D

Anu Karthik said...

@ meera: CA poi kettu poite de nee. no pavels here. gun that a dish for real?

Rithika said...

Hey, been following your recipes (landed thru facebook). When I make tomato thoku, i grind the tomatoes first...helps cook better...but I never added tamarind paste. Will try that out. Thanks. Keep sharing good recipes.

Anu Karthik said...

@ Rithika: thanks for your note! There is just not one way to make this thokku and each of us have our favorites :) The reason I don't grind it is because it will cause it to splutter all over compared to this method and also I like to taste the skin occasionally than the full paste. The tamarind paste is only needed if your tomatoes are not tangy enough, maybe yours are already?

Viviani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viviani said...

Hye Anu, tried d thokku..was lip smackin gud..i rem my coll frd's mom used to make this..n i loved it! now happy to make it myself...
wud like to add tat more than the recipe itself, its ur refreshin write up and fab fotos tat lure us into the kitchen :D
Keep going..

Anu Karthik said...

@ Vini: Thanks very much! I am glad you liked it a lot and also for the encouragement :)

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