Go Back Email Link
+ servings
South Indian thakkali thokku- a tangy tomato relish in a glass jar with cherry tomatoes, garlic and curry leaves all presented in a rustic platter
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Tomato Thokku

Tomato Thokku- Spicy vegan relish made with fresh tomatoes and ginger. Tastes great with rice and flatbreads, dosa and idli
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Accompaniment, Condiment
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 443kcal
Author: Anusha Praveen


  • Instant pot/ pressure cooker
  • Potato masher
  • ladle


  • ½ cup Sesame oil cold pressed sesame oil is recommended
  • 25 grams finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 12 grams finely chopped ginger
  • 4.5 cups finely chopped tomatoes 1200 g in weight
  • 3 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 3 teaspoon Kosher Salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Jaggery

For the spice powder

  • ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds


Prepping the tomatoes

  • Wash and pat dry your tomatoes.
  • Once dry, chop them as finely as you can.

Instant Pot Method

    Frying the garlic

    • Insert the inner pot into the Instant Pot, plug in and press SAUTE MODE-NORMAL-7 mins.
    • Wait for the display to read HOT. When the display reads hot, add the sesame oil.
    • Now, add the sliced garlic and saute till it becomes a light golden brown When the garlic has browned, drain and set aside.


    • To the remaining oil in the pot, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
    • When they splutter, add fenugreek seeds, finely chopped ginger and saute for 30 to 40 secs.
    • Immediately tip in the curry leaves and mix well.

    Pressure cooking the tomatoes

    • Now, add the finely chopped tomatoes and stir well.
    • Add the salt and tamarind paste and mix.
    • When done, add the red chilli powder and stir to combine.
    • Allow this to simmer for 2 mins or until the SAUTE cycle completes.
    • When the SAUTE cycle finishes, ensure that the sealing ring has been inserted properly into the lid.
    • Press CANCEL.
    • Close the Instant Pot and turn the VALVE to SEALING.
    • Allow the cooking cycle to complete fully.
    • When the cooking cycle is complete, quick release pressure by turning the valve to VENTING.

    Making the spice powder

    • While the mixture is cooking, heat another pan and dry roast the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds until fenugreek seeds are pink and fragrant.
    • Do this on low flame as they burn quickly.
    • Let cool and grind to a powder in a blender.

    Simmering the Thokku

    • Press CANCEL.
    • Open the lid and gently mash the tomatoes with a potato masher.
    • This is optional but recommended. Tip in the spice powder, fried garlic, jaggery and adjust salt if required.
    • Now, close the Instant Pot with a glass lid. PRESS SAUTE MODE- NORMAL- 20 MINUTES.
    • While the thokku simmers, make sure that you keep stirring it every 2 mins once to prevent burning or sticking to the bottom.
    • After 20 mins, 85% of the liquid from the pickle would have evaporated and you will have a thick Thakkali Thokku.
    • Let cool completely before transferring them to sterilized jars.

    Stovetop Method

    • Heat a deep pressure pan with sesame oil.
    • Add the garlic and fry till golden.
    • Drain and set aside.
    • Now add the garlic and fry till golden.
    • When the garlic is done, drain and set aside.
    • To the same pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add fenugreek seeds and ginger.
    • Saute for 30 secs. Now, add curry leaves and mix well.
    • Immediately tip in the finely chopped tomatoes and stir well.
    • Now, add salt and tamarind paste. Mix well.
    • Tip in the chili powder and stir to combine.
    • Simmer this mixture until it reduces to half.
    • This takes roughly 12 to 14 mins.
    • When the Thokku has reduced to half it volume, add the freshly ground fenugreek and mustard powder, fried garlic and jaggery.
    • Stir well to combine.
    • Adjust salt if required.
    • Simmer this for 7 to 8 mins on low flame until the Thokku thickens and oil begins to float to the surface.
    • When done, allow it to cool completely before transferring to a clean air tight sterilized jar.
    • It may take longer if you are making a huge batch.


    Nutritional values provided here are a rough estimate. Please consult a qualified dietitian or nutrition expert if you have any questions regarding this.
    Instant pot timings may vary based on geographical location.
    1. Make sure to wipe and pat dry the ginger and tomatoes before using it. Water and moisture are main reasons for fungal growth and molding.
    2. Sterilize the glass jars properly before transferring this pickle.
    3. Some people add turmeric powder to this and you can add 1 teaspoon of it if you desire. I just like it this way.
    4. You can also make this a no onion- no garlic dish by skipping the garlic. This version tastes very good too and is ideal for days when Vrat is observed.

    For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes

    Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.


    Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.


    Calories: 443kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 2430mg | Potassium: 755mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 3599IU | Vitamin C: 114mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 3mg
    Tried this recipe?Mention @tomatoblues or tag #tomatoblues!