Tomatoes and Bell pepper savory Preserve ( Thokku )












Bell peppers and Tomato  thokku / Tomato savoury preserve/pickle

This is a must have in most South Indian homes and a great easy accompaniment to many dishes, idlis, dosas, chapatis and curd rice. 

Adding bell peppers gave a nice twist and a good texture to the thokku making it thicker and pastier. Adding bell peppers is optional, but do try it once.

We also use this to mix plain rice and make a tomato rice with this. Tastes very good and a great handy condiment to have in every kitchen.
Varieties of thokku are prepared, with mangoes, citron, Gongura, bittergourds, and many such vegetables.

Tomato thokku is very popular as it is quicker, goes well with many dishes and  tomatoes are easily available round the year. Thokku can be prepared in small quantities also when you desperately need  some spicy preserve to go with your dishes, throw some tomatoes in the blender, puree, add the other ingredients, keep cooking on a slow flame, it is done while you get the meals ready.


Ingredients:



8 medium size ripe tomatoes chopped fine.
2 red bell peppers , chopped    ( Optional ) 
1 small berry size tamrind.
3-4 tsp  Kashmiri chilli  powder
Generous pinch of Asafoetida  powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt As required.
Some curry leaves.
4 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp mustard seeds.

To roast and grind to a powder
2 tsp fenugreek seeds


Method:

1.       Puree the tomatoes, bell peppers, with tamrind ( can be added separately ) without adding water.
2.       In a big pan, add oil after heating it , crackle the mustard seeds, add some curry leaves .
3.       Now carefully add the pureed mixture, which will cause some splash, so better to switch off the gas after the tempering is ready, let the pan cool a bit , then add the pureed mixture, this way you can avoid a noisy hot splash.
4.       Switch on the gas on a medium flame. Add chilli powder, asafoetida powder, turmeric powder, salt. Cover the pan lightly with a lid to avoid the splatters as the thokku cooks.
5.       This will take some time , as the thokku reduces gradually , you need to stir occasionally, keeping the flame on low. Preparation of any thokku is really no ordeal as it can be done in a separate burner, while you do rest of the cooking. No need to keep monitoring generally.
6.       After some 20 to 30 minutes approximately , you will see the thokku has reduced considerably and little  oil is floating on top, now add the roasted  powdered fenugreek powder to the thokku and stir well.
7.       Check for the spice and salt taste and remove from flame when the thokku has come to a thick pickle like consistency.

Cool well, store in a clean dry bottle.