This is an incredibly tasty accompaniment to Idlis, Dosas, or any other bland base that you want to serve it with at any point! Thakkali Thokku as it is called is so easy to make and amazing to have on hand when you want to dip a bread, chip, or an Utthappam!


Tomatoes, Sesame Oil (Gingelly Oil), Mustard Seeds, Red chili powder, Turmeric powder, Asafoetida (hing), Fenugreek seeds (methi), Sugar or Jaggery.


  1. Cut 20 ripe tomatoes into ½ inch pieces and keep aside.
  2. Take 1 tsp of Methi and dry roast in a skillet on medium heat till the aroma emanates. Cool and blend into a coarse powder and keep aside.
  3. Heat ½ cup of sesame oil to a deep wok and add 2 tbsp of mustard seeds.
  4. When they begin to splutter, add the tomatoes in quickly and start sauteing on medium heat.
  5. Add 5 heaped tbsp red chili powder (yes, this is a spicy one! I add more because I like it super spicy, but you can add as much or as little as you wish), 2 tsp of tumeric powder, 2 tsp of hing and salt to taste.
  6. Mix everything well, partially close the wok, increase the heat to medium high and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring in-between.
  7. The tomatoes will start to break down and the oil will start to separate slowly.
  8. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for another 10 minutes without the lid (yes, your stove top at this point will be a splatter zone and in need of deep cleaning later :-))
  9. When the tomatoes start to resemble a jam, reduce the heat to low, add the ground methi.
  10. Add 2 tsp of sugar or a one inch piece of jaggery.
  11. Mix everything and allow everything to blend well for another 3-4 minutes.
  12. Cool completely and store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks.

Notes to the chef: 

Ensure that the tomatoes you use for this pickle is extra ripe. Tomatoes on the vine/Roma tomatoes have worked really well for me. It makes a big difference in the taste as well as the visual appeal. A lot of people also grind up the tomatoes before adding them to the hot oil. I prefer mine chunky, hence I chop them up. It makes no difference to the taste! Dark molasses can also be used in place of sugar/jaggery to balance out the flavors.



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