Onion Tomato Spicy savory Preserve ( Thokku )

Onion Tomato thokku is one of the most frequently prepared savory preserve or Thokku as we call it in Tamil.

This is a great way to to replace coconut chutneys and makes a great accompaniment for idlis, dosas and even chapatis. It is so finger licking good we even have it with curd rice.

The best part is this can be prepared very quickly while your daily morning cooking is getting ready you will have a quick thokku ready too.

Pureeing the onions, tomatoes with other ingredients without adding water.

Sauteeing the tomato onion mixture and adding remaining ingredients to get the thokku ready by a long simmering over  a low flame. Cover with a lid to avoid splashes.

Mixture coming together by reduction.

Almost done, now, just a quick stir to make sure of the thokku consistency.

Now to drool over the thokku pics...it tasted too good.

The recipe....


Onion tomato Thokku

3 medium size onions
2 medium size tomatoes
3 red dry whole chillis
1 cherry size tamrind
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
Pinch of asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp roasted ground fenugreek seed powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsp sesame oil of  which add 1 tbsp at the last stage when the Thokku is almost ready and give a good stir in the pan.


Peel and cube the onions .chop the  tomatoes .

Grind to paste onions. ,tomatoes. , 3 dry red chillis and the tamrind .

do not add water for grinding as the tomatoes will release  a lot of juice .

You will get a runny purée which has to be reduced by simmering on a low flame,

Take a heavy bottom pan.  Add the oil. Heat it up and ,let the mustard seeds crackle  , then add the purée  . 

Add salt, asafoetida powder , the roasted fenugreek seed powder  and Kashmiri red chili powder. 

Stir well and keep the flame on low. To avoid splashes over the gas stove. , keep the simmering Thokku covered with a lid and keep checking to avoid burning.  

within few minutes you will see the Thokku. , that is the purée of omatoes and onions has reduced  considerably and started thickening. 

Add any,leftover oil  of the quantity mentioned in the list of ingredients.

When the Thokku has thickened well and glistening  , remove from flame and let cool completely before storing. It remains good upto a week and keep stored in a jar in the fridge.

An excellent  accompaniment for idlis, dosas and chapatis . We make this usually to replace coconut chutneys and ready made pickles which has more salt and oil .


Usually Thokku is prepared in this manner. Adding garlic is your  Choice.

Another method. of preparation is to sauté the onions , tomatoes (chopped well ) with 2 tsp of oil in a heated pan with dry  red chillis , tamarind, asafoetida powder , roasted fenugreek seed powder red chilli powder added. . 

When the onions have turned pink and translucent  , remove from flame. ,allow it to cool , then grind in the mixie to a paste .

Remove from the mixie jar and temper with remaining sesame oil heated and crackling sesame seeds. Pour the tempering over the ready ground Thokku . 

Add salt if not added before.

Store in a jar . Both melds give good taste , but for Thokku I prefer to follow the first method as the long simmering will ensure the Thokku will not spoil.

For smaller quantities the second method is easier.


1 . Always keep a handy jar of roasted fenugreek seed powder at home. I has several uses in the kitchen while cooking. While preparing sambar , adding 1/2 tsp at the end while preparing the tadka to pour over the sambar will give a great aroma . It also has great medicinal properties.

2.  Ready methi powder  is also useful when we prepare such pickles or Thokku at home. It is rather cumbersome to grind small quantities so keep a small handy jar ready.

3.  For quick digestive and stomach problems -adding 1/2 a tsp of methi powder in thin buttermilk with asafoetida will give quick relief.