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Sweet and sour tomato chutney from Tamil Nadu (Thakkali thokku)

A thokku is a very traditional South Indian pickle or chutney originating in the state of Tamil Nadu. It differs from regular pickles in that it is made with grated or puréed ingredients instead of cut pieces. The thokku is always smoother in texture and the grated vegetables have a chance to completely be infused by the spiced and chillies. The most common thokku is the green mango thokku, but there are many variations on this theme.

This is a lovely thokku that blends sweet, sour and spicy flavours. The tomatoes are cooked down in the saucepan to a thick consistency concentrating the sour flavours. This is a refreshing thokku, one that can be enjoyed as a condiment with dosas or any regular meal.

This cookbook on South Indian dosa is a very specialized cookbook from one of my favourite chefs. Every recipe is authentic and this book is written with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the different cuisines in South India. This pancake recipe, like the other dosas and adai recipes from this cookbook, makes this cookbook essential for those who enjoy this type of dish.

For more recipes from the fabulous cookbook, click here.


For the tempering:

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder

For the chutney:

10 oz tomato purée

2 tablespoons jaggery

2-3 teaspoons chilli powder, or to taste

Salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the mustard seeds. they will spit in 10 seconds. Add the asafoetida followed immediately by the tomato purée, jaggery, chilli powder and salt. Stir well and cook on low heat for about 35-45 minutes until all the water evaporates and the sauce thickens to a paste. Taste for salt and spice and adjust as needed.

The chutney can be stored in the fridge for a week. Serve at room temperature.

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