Monday, March 26, 2018

Tomato Pickle ~ Andhra style spicy Takkali Urugai or Thokku

Ripe for the picking - Andhra Tameta Uragai pickle

I stubbed my toe onto the dining table leg and the nail popped off but it was still barely hanging from the cuticle. Anyways I bandaged my toe and went about my chores. I dropped kids off to school and on my way back home I passed a thelewala (hand cart) selling ripe tomatoes. My driver knows me well enough and said, Madam, tomato chanagide, Photo tege (kannada language)? Don’t you just love it when people around you know what will cheer you up!

Anyway I bought 2 kg of these luscious desi/natti heirloom tomatoes which has a hint sourness and full of the sun ripened tomato flavour in them.

Desi Natti Heirloom Tomatoes
I returned home and knew I’m low on my pickle/chutney stock so I decided to make a batch of Tomato thokku (cross between chutney and pickle), but I wanted to make it spicy Andhra style to eat with curd rice or Idli/Dosa.

Pulp and seeds scooped out of the tomatoes and placed in the sun to dry

The unique method of preparation is that the tomatoes pulp/seeds are scooped out and the tomatoes halves are sprinkled with sea salt and sun dried for a whole day.

Tomato Uragai
1 kg tomatoes, halved and the seeds/pulp scooped out
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
6-8 Guntur dry red chillies broken into halves
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds for tempering
1 tbsp crushed garlic (optional)
6-8 curry leaves
1/4 cup sesame/gingelly oil
Salt to taste

Dry Roast/Sun dry and powder:
10-12 Byadgi dry red chillies
5-6 short dry red chillies
1 tsp each of Cumin, Fenugreek and Mustard seeds

Sun dry the tomato halves in the sun for 1-2 days depending on the intensity of the heat until the skins attain a crinkly texture. Blend to a coarse paste the tomatoes and tamarind. Roast the powder ingredients and set aside.

Heat gingelly/sesame oil and add the mustard seeds and Guntur dry chillies. Allow it to darken then add the crushed garlic, curry leaves and asafoetida. Reduce the heat to low and add the powder and the tomato purée. Cook on low, stirring occasionally until the oil floats to the sides of the pan and it emits a beautiful aroma. About 6-8 minutes, add salt and turn off the flame. Cool and store in a glass jar in the fridge. This will keep for up to 3-4 weeks... but you will finish it before that!

Tomatoes after a whole day of drying in the sun

Dried tomatoes and a bit of tamarind ground to a chunky pulp
Large crinkly Byadgi chillies, Cumin seeds, Guntur chillies, Fenugreek seeds, Mustard seeds
Sun dried spices ground to a fine powder
Guntur dry red chillies, minced garlic, curry leaves

Heat oil, add the spices and cook along with tomatoes and spice powder

Cook until oil forms a ring on the side of the pan and the pickle has thickened and emits a beautiful aroma

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