Tomato Thokku

This is my all purpose condiment, that its such a breeze to put together, that I have on hand almost always. I made a special batch of it, just before we went on our trip out to the Pacific coast. It is so easy because it is made with crushed canned tomatoes, and all you have to do is let it hang out on the stove over medium heat, and you have a delicious thokku that you can use for so many different dishes. I use it all the time to put together some very easy dishes:

  • chutney for dosa, idly, upma etc.
  • Boil, halve eggs and mix this thokku in for a quick side dish
  • peel/boil/cube potatoes and mix in with this to make a quick potato curry for chapatis
  • mix this with rice to make quick and easy tomato rice
  • use it like a pickle with curd rice
  • spread it on bread when making sandwiches
  • Smear it on dosa when making masala dosa

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 red onions, peeled halved and sliced thin into half moons
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/4 cup gingelly oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp lemon juice
sprig curry leaves
salt to taste

Heat the gingelly oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the urad dal, channa dal and curry leaves. Let the dals turn golden brown. Add the sliced onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute until golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium and let the onions soften and carmelize for about 5 minutes. Add the entire can of crushed tomatoes along with all the juices, the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt to taste.

Remember that since the tomatoes come canned, they do have some salt in them, so watch the amount of salt you add. Let the tomato mixture cook slowly for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until all the water evaporates and the mixture cooks down to about half its original volume. Add the lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Keep cooking until the oil oozes out and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan in a single mass, kind of like a halwa. Check for seasoning. Let cool and spoon into a bottle. Refrigerate for upto 3 months or freeze upto a year(if it lasts you that long).

Verdict: Spicy, tangy and addictive..this batch lasted us probably two weeks. Not only is it easy, but also works out cheap in times when tomatoes tend to be more expensive than normal.

I am sending to this to ‘Healing Foods – Tomatoes’, a series of events started by Siri and also to Ayeesha’s ‘Iftar Moments: Hijri’ event.

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