Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tomato chutney

Tomato chutney or thokku as it is known in Tamil Nadu is a good use of summer tomatoes. It is a spicy version and is a common recipe among tamilians. I try to make this at least twice during summer. This is not exactly a recipe that stores well. It will stay fresh for a week in the refrigerator. I also like to use this as a dip with pita or even as a sandwich spread. In South India, this is served alongside dosas, idlis or even pongal.

I love the color vine-ripened tomatoes give but any really ripe tomatoes will do. Personally, I don't mind having the skins left on the tomatoes. If you don't want chunky bits in your chutney, you could blanch the tomatoes and remove the seeds. If you are losing too much of the juice, strain the juice and add to the tomatoes.

8 large ripe tomatoes
1 tsp fenugreek seeds, dry-roasted and ground fine
3/4 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 T oil preferable cold-pressed sesame oil, the Indian kind
1/2 tsp asafoetida or 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Grind the tomatoes to a puree. Heat oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the asafoetida powder, stir for 15-20 sec. If using garlic, add it instead of asafoetida and let it color slightly. Add tomato puree and red chili powder. Simmer on medium heat. The puree will gradually thicken up into a sauce and then to a paste. So there will be lot of bubbling.

When the puree has reduced by half, add salt and ground fenugreek. Continue simmering until it is thick like a paste and oil droplets start floating on top. Taste and add more salt, if needed.


  1. Generally I donot puree the tomato first, I cut it up and add, and cook well, it turns out very well.

  2. I used to do that too. But that requires cutting up tomatoes a little too small and I ended up with a juicy mess. Someone gave me this method and I feel it does not take as much time for the tomatoes to cook into a paste.

  3. I make this too, quite often (in fact was going to do a post on my food blog - didnt have the time to write although I took the pics!) :) I'll try adding the powdered fenugreek when I make it again.

  4. i just tried this- it is so yummy! thanks for sharing the recipe :-)