Thakaali Thokku ( Spicy Tomato Preserve )


Thakkali thokku is a part of my childhood memory . My Nanamma used to make this in large batches and she did it so meticulously that it needed no refrigeration. It was a staple in my household and was such a versatile dish . It will go well as a side with Rice,and most Indian tiffin items like Idlies and Dosai , Uppuma,Pongal , Rava Kichidi has even Rotis . It can be mixed with rice to make a quick tomato rice or with plain sevvai to make a spicy , tangy tomato sevai . It can pep up any meal even the occasional bleh ones that can’t be eaten otherwise. I even spread it on my toast with butter to begin my day with a much needed oomph !

My Nanamma used to make it in iron kadais and over an open one so that no moisture is added in it for long shelf life .

But like I mentioned in my bio, I like to replicate the taste of the dishes but with easier recipes and methods that are less time consuming .


Tomato-1kg( sour ones , preferably naatu thakaali ( the small sour variety )

Dry red chillies -20-30 ( more or less depending on spice level

Tamarind- depending on the sourness of the tomatoes , if tomatoes you are using are the salad types then use more tamarind

Gingely oil -5tbsps

Mustard seeds -2tsps

Curry leaves-2 sprigs

Asafoetida -2-3 tsps

Fenugreek seeds -2tsps

Salt , turmeric ( as required )


Dry roast asafoetida and fenugreek seeds well and powder it and keep aside.

Wash and dry the tomatoes , grind tomatoes with chillies, tamarind , turmeric and salt to s smooth paste . Add no water . Heat oil in a non stick pan ( I told you , I opt for easier methods 😃) , add in the mustard seeds and allow to splutter , add curry leaves and then add in the tomato chilli blend, cook closed . Keep stirring in between so it doesn’t char. Cook closed until oil rises to the top, which means the thokku is done . Wait till it thickens a bit and then add the powdered asafoetida and fenugreek seeds . Mix well and switch off stove . Cool to room temperature and store in airtight bottles in the fridge. Can use for 2-3 months if you use dry spoons to serve .


*since we are not cooking on an open kadai , there will be some moisture added as steam , that is the reason we need to refrigerate it .

* the mixture will splutter a lot as the water keeps reducing so every time you want to stir , switch off the flame , stir well and put it back on to cook . This way the hot mixture will not splutter on your hands while stirring .

*remove from flame as soon as you add the fenugreek and asafoetida powder to retain the flavour.


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