BM#3 Day 4: Tomato Pickle

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Tomato pickle is one pickle I always get back from India. Love this pickle and specially the one that my mom makes. She uses pandu miramu, fresh red chili paste instead of chili powder. Whenever I get this pickle, it usually lasts me a year but this time, I finished it all in six months itself! I can always ask my mom to send some over but since I have some red chili paste, I that I will give it a try. It came out pretty good,  not as good as my mom’s though.  However, I am happy with it.

This is goes to Cooking with Whole Foods: Tomatoes, an event started by Kiran and to Hima’s Pickle/Achar/Uragayi Mela.

Tomato pickle, tomato pachadi, tomato tokku

Source: Mom
Total Time: 25 – 30 minutes
Preparation: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes


  • 4 medium Vine Ripe Tomatoes (more than 1 lb. / around 550 gms)
  • ½ – 2/3 cup Oil (half for tempering/tadka and half for cooking tomatoes)
  • 1 ½ – 2 tbsp. (approx.) Salt
  • 2 Cloves powdered
  • 3 Cardamoms Powdered
  • 2 Lemons Juiced or ½ cup lemon/lime Juice
  • ¼ tsp. (less than) Methi Powder
  • ¼ tsp. (less than) Mustard Powder


  • Curry Leaves
  • ½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • 1-2 Dry Red Chilies
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Red Chili Paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Ginger Paste
  • 2 ½ – 3 tbsp. Garlic paste
  • Turmeric


  • Wash the tomatoes and cut it to 8 – 10 pieces.
  • In a pan, heat ½ the oil listed above and cook the tomatoes without covering for approximately 12 – 15 minutes. Tomatoes should become soft and the juices should evaporate. You may have to reduce the heat half way into  cooking to avoid burning.
  • While the tomatoes are cooking, lightly roast mustard and methi seeds and grind them to fine powder. I had some ground powder in my cabinet and used it instead. The quantity mentioned above is for powdered mustard and methi, not the seeds.
  • Grind the cardamom and cloves to powder.
  • When the tomatoes are cooked and the juices have almost evaporated, add above powders and give a good stir. Cook for another couple of minutes and turn off the heat. Let the tomato mixture cool.
  • Take the remaining oil in a pan and heat it for the tempering. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin and dry chili. When the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and sauté for few seconds.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric and cook it for a minute.
  • Add the chili paste sauté it on medium low flame for 2-3 minutes until the pastes are cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and add it to the tomato mixture. Add the lime juice and mix everything together. Taste the pickle, adjust salt and lime  juice according to your taste.
  • Leave it at room temperature for couple of days and then refrigerate it. When I get it from India, it normally stays fresh for almost a year in the fridge.  It is a good condiment for yogurt rice,  idli & dosa.


  • I was going to use ¾ cup oil so cooked my tomatoes in 1/3 – ½ cup of oil. That was lot of oil. So I gently removed the excess oil from the tomato mixture and used the same oil for tempering. I would recommend using ¾ oil (for both cooking tomatoes and for the tadka). Since U won’t touch it if he sees too much oil floating on the top, I used less oil. Pickles always taste good and look good with little bit of oil floating on the top.
  • Also, the first day the oil may seem less but in a day or two, it will begin to float.  I took above  picture the next day and there isn’t much oil floating on the top.  But today, the third day,  there is some floating on the top.
  • Be careful with the salt and adjust to your taste.  Back home, fresh red chilies are ground to fine paste with some salt, as it lasts longer with added salt.  It kind of acts like a preservative.  Mom had brought some when she visited me last summer.
  • Red chili paste can be substituted with chili powder but I have never tasted it though.

This month that year: The recipes I posted this month in 2009 and in 2010

Now over to my fellow marathoners,
30 Minutes Meals: Gayathri Anand
Baked Goods: Monika,
For On Going Events: Gayathri Kumar
Kids Friendly: PJ, Savitha, Smitha, Srivalli, Veena Aravind
Rice Varieties: Champa, Divya, Padma

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