Tomato Thokku is a Tamil Nadu style spicy, tangy relish that is made using juicy tomatoes. This is no onion, no garlic, perfect homestyle recipe that I learnt from my grandmother. Thokku is a term used in Tamil for a pickle/relish. Back in Tamilnadu, we are used to calling this dish as thakkali thokku. Tomato Relish/ Thakkali Thokku is a perfect accompaniment for Idli, Dosa, Rotis, Rice (especially curd rice ). I also love having it with some fresh bread!

Tomatoes in this recipe!

Tomatoes are extremely versatile. I like having a huge stock of tomatoes in my refrigerator. Now, coming to this tomato thokku recipe, I personally prefer making this thokku often because tomatoes are always available in the market. We don’t need to wait for a particular season to stock up on tomatoes.

Tomato Thokku

Also, tomatoes don’t need much work when it comes to cooking. They get cooked easily which makes the recipe very simple. Tomato thokku is a very travel-friendly recipe as well. I remember, as a child, I used to travel on trains quite often for vacations. Tomato thokku along with rotis or idlis were always there to keep us company during those train journeys. Till date, I love spreading some generous thokku on rotis, rolling them up and eating.

What is tomato thokku

Tomato Thokku

There are different thokku / pickle varieties that we use in Tamil Nadu. Tomato thokku is one of the easiest out there! This is one thokku that is available in my refrigerator almost throughout the year! When I am in no mood to make a chutney or sambar, this thokku saves my day!
For this thokku, we cook the tomatoes till mushy, grind it along with tamarind. Then we cook it again in some sesame oil along with the required spices. We cook the tomatoes till they reach the thokku/pickle consistency. Can it get any easier?

While there are many variations of tomato thokku , this is a quick recipe from my grandmother’s kitchen. She is my cooking idol. I love her style of cooking and have grown up eating her dishes. Today, when I sit down to write recipes, my first choice is to write about my grandmother’s style of cooking! Nothing can come close to it. She makes cooking look like a breeze. She doesn’t believe in spending the whole day in the kitchen. Her recipes are short but delicious. She makes a feast in less than an hour. A huge inspiration for slow cooks like me 😀

Shelf life and storing suggestions

Tomato thokku stays good in room temperature for around 5 days. When refrigerated, it lasts for nearly 2 months. But I am sure the thokku will get over by then and you will be preparing the next batch!

Unlike other pickles that stay good for over a year, this one has a shorter shelf life.
It is very important to store the thokku in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated. Always use a dry, clean spoon while handling the thokku. This ensures it remains fresh and good for a longer period of time.

How to serve Tomato Thokku

Tomato Thokku

It tastes best when served with some hot idlis, dosas, rotis! I peronally like having it with some sandwich bread too.

How can we leave out Curd Rice? Tomato thokku tastes heavenly with some freshly made , mushy, curd rice!

To have a quick, delicious meal, mix it with some hot rice. Top it with a dollop of ghee or sesame oil. Serve it with some papad or chips. Tatstes so good!

Step by Step Instructions

First, roughly chop the tomatoes. I have taken 1/2 kg tomatoes.

In a pan, add 2 tsp oil. Once hot, add in the tomatoes and cook on medium flame along with a small ball of tamarind. Cook till they become mushy.

Switch off. cool down to room temprature and grind it to a fine paste. In a pan, add 3 tbsp sesame oil. Once hot, add the tomato paste. Keep on medium flame and add salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri chilli powder. Stir well. Close and cook on medium to high flame.

Keep opening in between and give a stir so that the thokku doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Cook until all the moisture is gone and oil oozes out on top. Add jaggery to the thokku and give a good mix.

Give a good mix. Switch off. In another pan, add sesame oil. Once hot, add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once mustard starts spluttering, add it to the thokku and give a mix.

Once it cools down to room temperature, store in an air tight container and refrigerate. Use a clean spoon to serve.

Tomato Thokku


Tomato Thokku

South Indian, home style tomato thokku recipe. Lip Smacking, spicy and tangy tomato thokku made without onion and garlic. A perfect side dish for idli, dosa, roti and rice.
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Thakkali Thokku, Easy Tomato thokku, South Indian Thokku, Thakkali Thokku, Thokku Recipe, Tomato Recipes, Tomato Relish, Tomato Thokku
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Gayathri Vijayakumar


  • 500 gms Tomato
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • Tamarind small gooseberry sized
  • 1 tsp Jaggery
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds


  • In a pan, add a tsp oil. Once hot, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Give a stir and let it cook till the tomatoes turn mushy. Towards the end, add a small gooseberry sized tamarind. Give a stir for less than a minute. Let it cool to room temperature. Grind it to a smooth paste.
  • In the same pan, add sesame oil. Once hot, add the ground tomato puree. Add turmeric powder, salt, chilli powder and kashmiri chilli powder. Give a good mix.
  • Keep the flame on medium to high. Close the pan with a lid and let it cook.
  • Keep opening in between and give a stir. Make sure the thokku doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once all the moisture reduces and thokku becomes thick, you will see the oil float on top. Add jaggery and give a final mix. Switch off.
  • In another pan, add sesame oil. Once hot, add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once the mustard splutters, add it to the thokku and give a final mix.
  • Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.


Depending upon the sourness of the tomatoes, adjust the salt and spice.
Add jaggery according to your preference. Jaggery gives a good balance of taste. 
I would recommend sesame oil/ gingelly oil for this thokku. But if not possible to use it, you can use any other oil.
Make sure you cook well until the moisture is absorbed. That helps in longer shelf life.
Use a clean and dry spoon to handle the thokku. 
I have used kashmiri red chilli powder for colour. Can be skipped.