Tomato thokku

Every Tamil household possibly has its own version of tomato thokku. It was the most commonly made side-dish for chapathi in my house when I was growing up. While it’s typically made with a seasoning of mustard seeds and urad dal, I have arrived at this recipe after years of making it my own way. Getting the consistency of this thokku right makes a world of difference in how it tastes. This dish also reminds me of my mother’s tomato thokku (though I have no idea if she made it the same way). 

Tomato thokku


Tomato – 4 medium-sized, chopped
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, finely chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
Salt to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves and chopped garlic. Fry for about 30 seconds
  • Add onion and fry till they begin to turn brown
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add salt to taste and allow this to cook for 2 more minutes
  • At this stage the tomatoes will start releasing water. Add chilly powder, turmeric, coriander powder and cumin powder. Fry till you no longer smell the raw masalas
  • Add about half a cup of water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium heat. The tomatoes should be almost completely mashed. Add more water if required
  • When the mixture becomes slightly thick but with a little water still remaining, turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve hot with chapathi or puri

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