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Thakkali Thokku (Tomato Pickle)

Thakkali Thokku is a traditional South Indian pickle prepared with tomatoes.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Pickle
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3
Author: Vidya Srinivasan


  • Ripe tomatoes - 10 - 12
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp adjust according to your spice level
  • Sesame oil - 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds / powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Jaggery – 1 tbsp heaped
  • Salt - as needed


  • Put tomatoes in a blender and blend without adding water
  • Add oil to a wide pan (while boiling, tomatoes tend to spit spill outside). When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and fenugreek and let it splutter. Add tomato puree and sauté occasionally
  • When tomato puree reduces to half, add red chilli powder and salt
  • Keep stirring once in a while. Add jaggery after the raw smell of Chilli powder goes off
  • Cook till water evaporates completely and the tomatoes become thick

Pressure cooker method

  • In a wide mixing bowl add chopped tomatoes, salt, Chilli powder and pinch of turmeric powder
  • Grind them without adding water Add oil to the pressure cooker when oil is hot add mustard seeds and let it splutter
  • Add the blended purée and cook for about 1 minute till they start bubbling
  • Cook for 25 - 28 whistles for 25 minutes and let the pressure settle down
  • Open the cooker and mix well
  • Depending on the tomatoes variety it will be watery
  • Add jaggery and mix well
  • When thokku comes to your desired consistency add fenugreek powder and mix well 
  • Switch off and let it cool down 
  • Store it in a airtight container


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  1. Tamarind puree can be added, if you want it a bit tangy
  2. Store the thokku in the fridge for longer shelf life. If you are going to finish in 1 or 2 days can keep it outside
  3. Keep in an airtight container and use a dry spoon, for the thokku to stay longer
  4. Brown sugar/ white sugar can be added instead of Jaggery
  5. Mustard Seed powder and fenugreek powder can be added along with chilli powder
  6. Thokku stays good for 2 weeks
  7. Always use a pressure cooker which whistles properly
  8. Be it a pan/pressure cooker choose one that is deep to prevent the thokku from spiling out
  9. For instant pot version cook for 18 minutes and natural release. Cook to the desired consistency
  10. Avoid boiling the tomato puree for the instant pot version. After tempering add ground tomato mix well, make sure nothing is stuck to the pan then pressure cook for 18 minutes 
  11. Thokku tastes the best next day
  12. Let thokku cool completely before storing it
  13. Thokku stays good for two weeks. for long shelf life add extra sesame oil
  14. Depending on the variety of tomato you chose cooked thooku might be watery hence after pressure cooking cook accordingly
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