Tomato-Cilantro Thokku



tomato-coriander-thokkuTalking about pickles how can one miss out on the ubiquitous tomato-coriander that find their way into our dishes?

Last week was satisfying as I got to make more than one pickle in a couple of days’ time.  Soon after preparing lemon pickle I was informed that Ar and As were planning a homecoming for the weekend.  The immediate plan was to make one more pickle to be sent back with them and who else  but tomato and coriander came to my rescue! I decided to make a combo, the thokku way and  was too happy with the outcome.

It took me less than an hour to process and get the pickle ready. I used the pressure cooker to reduce the volume of the puree and it helped in fast reduction and avoided mess while cooking.


Ripe (firm) tomato 1 kg

Cilantro (coriander) leaves 3 cups (loosely packed) or 2 cups (well packed)

Tamarind 100 g (free from fibers)

Sea salt 3 tbsp

Red chili powder 3 tsp (heaped)

Turmeric powder 1 tsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Fenugreek powder ½ tsp

Sugar 1 tsp

Sesame oil 3 tbsp


  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes to soften it. Use just enough water to soak the tamarind.
  • Clean the cilantro leaves and let the water dry out to get moisture-free leaves.
  • Remove the stalk point from the tomatoes and quarter them for easy blending.
  • Transfer the tamarind and half the tomato to the blender and blitz  to get a smooth puree. Transfer to a bowl and now transfer the remaining tomato the blender. Add the cilantro laves also and blitz to get a coarse puree.
  • Heat the oil in the pressure pan on a low flame and when the oil gets hot add fenugreek powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, asafotida and mix well. Transfer the two portions of the puree to the pan and add salt and sugar.
  • Close the pan, add the weight and let the mix cook on high flame for three whistles.  As the mix gets cooked the entire place will get filled the aroma of the pickle.
  • Wait for the pan to cool down and open the lid to see the thickness of the pickle.  If it has reached a gel like consistency wait for the pickle to cool down completely and transfer to airtight bottles for storing.
  • In case the the mix is a bit liquid like in consistency heat on low flame to thicken the mix. Do keep an eye on the mix and keep stirring to avoid burning of the pickle.




Chef’s Note

  • Before storing the pickle add a tablespoon of vinegar on the top to store the pickle longer
  • Minimal water to soak the tamarind helps in thicker puree.
  • Coarsely ground cilantro gives a lovely bite to the pickle besides the bursting flavor

Jhatpat Lemon Pickle


Pickle at anytime is a favorite in every household and to resist a quick-make of the traditional pickle done in bulk in a few minutes using a pressure cooker is hard to resist!  When lemon pickle is needed in a short time skipping the required time of 10 to 15 days for seasoning as in wedding or social events, it is a normal practice to blanch the lemon and pickle it in spices, and in such cases the shelf life of long months is not guaranteed. Cooking the lemon in its juice and spices in pressure cooker with a little vinegar to prolong its shelf life simplifies the effort of pickling. This method is based on the method suggested by a well-known chef (Ramakrishnan) and tried by one of his ardent followers with my tweaks to suit my needs.


Ripe lemons 10 (medium-sized (US) or  big as per Indian standard (app. ½ kg)

Green chill paste 1 tsp (optional)

Grated ginger  2 tsp  (optional)

Turmeric powder 1 tsp

Red chilli powder  2 tsp (heaped)

Salt 2 tbsp

Fenugreek seed powder ½ tsp

Asafotida  ½ tsp

Sugar 1 tbsp

Sesame oil 2 tbsp

White vinegar  3 tbsp




  • Wash, wipe and slice the lemon into 8 or more pieces to get 1″ pieces.
  • In a large bowl add all the spices (saving oil and vinegar) and mix them well using a spatula.
  • Drop the cut lemon pieces into the spice mix and fold in gently.


  • Place a stainless steel pressure pan on the stove and layer the base with oil.  The next layer will be the spiced lemon pieces.Pile them over oil in such a way that they do not touch the walls of the pan.
  • Close the pan with the lid and place  the weight over the nozzle.
  • Let the pickle cook over medium flame till three whistles are heard. Switch off the flame and wait for the pickle to cool down.

When you open the lid you will find the lemon pieces soaked in its juice with a lovely flavor. Mix well with a spatula and transfer the  contents to a sterile bottle.

  • Rinse the pan with vinegar and pour it over the pickle in the bottle to act as preservative.

Wait for a couple of days for the pickle to marinade well before use




Chef’s Note

  • Please use a stainless steel pan as aluminium is likely to leach in citric acid.
  • Use medium heat and the first whistle is heard in about 5 minutes with successive whistles in intermissions of a minute each.
  • If you like a sweeter flavor you can add a spoon of fennel seed powder,