Tomato Pickle made with ripe seasonal tomatoes, spices and oil. An Indian meal is incomplete without a pickle on the side. We make many kinds of pickles like Mango pickle, Ginger pickle, Tomato pickle, Carrot pickle and many more. This tomato pickle is flavorsome, spicy, hot and simply delicious. It goes so well with just anything – roti, paratha, Dal fry, plain rice and ghee. In this post I share the traditional way to make Andhra Tomato Pickle and this is as popular as the Andhra Avakaya.
In India, every region has their own unique way of making pickles. Not only the method but also the ingredients used vary a lot. In North India a lot of people use mustard oil and in South India sesame oil is used. The pickle recipes are usually passed on over the generations.
Tomato Pickle is a pickle variety from Andhra Cuisine made primarily with tomatoes. While the traditional pickle is a no-cook recipe and is made with sun dried tomatoes, the other easier version shared here is simply made by cooking tomatoes until the raw flavor is lost. A generous amount of tamarind pulp is added to this to increase the shelf life.
Later ground spices like red chilli powder, fenugreek seeds powder, mustard seeds powder and salt are added. Few versions use garlic to impart pungent flavor to the tomato pickle. It is lastly tempered in lots of oil & whole spices to make it shelf stable.
The pickle made with sun dried tomatoes last for years even without refrigeration. But the cooked tomato pickle lasts for a several months to an year depending on the quantity of tamarind used.
Making the sun dried pickle is a labor of love and requires so much patience and time. The recipe shared here in this post comes handy when you want to make tomato pickle with minimum effort.
After making this recipe for many years, I have fine tuned it further and perfectioned it for better shelf life. So read all the notes in the recipe card below.
This tomato pickle tastes tangy, hot and sour with flavors of methi, mustard and garlic. The amount of red chili powder, fenugreek seeds powder to use here depends on the kind of tomatoes you use.
How To Make Tomato Pickle (Stepwise photos)
You can find all the ingredients in the recipe card below. For this recipe you will first prepare all the ingredients and keep them aside before you begin to cook.
1. Wash tomatoes under running water and keep them.
2. Dry roast fenugreek seeds on a low flame stirring often.
3. They will turn deep golden and aromatic. Do not burn as burnt fenugreek seeds will taste even more bitter. Transfer to a plate and cool them.
4. Optional: If using mustard seeds dry roast them in the same pan just for a min until they begin to pop.
5. Keep stirring so they don’t burn. You have to be very careful while toasting the mustard seeds. Transfer to a plate and cool them.
6. Add the roasted seeds to a grinder. If you want you can also powder both the seeds together. But I prefer to do that separately as it is easy to adjust the quantities.
7. Grind to a very fine powder. We don’t want any grits here. Keep this aside in a plate.
8. The same way, add mustard seeds to the grinder and powder.
9. Transfer this powder to a plate. Keep aside.
10. Soak tamarind in hot water. Leave it aside. If you want you may add 25 grams deseeded tamarind directly to the pickle but I don’t prefer as there will lots of fibers and pulp. Don’t worry about shelf life. Water won’t spoil your pickle because you will cook down the tamarind pulp.
Make Tomato Pickle
11. Heat a pan with oil, add tomatoes. Saute for 3 to 4 mins on a medium high heat..
12. Cook until mushy. If you want you may cover and cook on a low heat. The tomatoes must be fully soft and mushy.
13. Meanwhile check the tamarind paste. Squeeze the tamarind so much of the fibers separate and all of the pulp comes to the water. You should get a thick tamarind paste.
14. When the tomatoes are mushy, Place a strainer and add all of the tamarind into it. Pass all of the paste through the strainer to the pan. For this use a strong spoon and press down the tamarind. Discard the pulp.
15. This is how the tamarind looks.
16. Cook this together until thick.
17. This step is optional – If you want a smooth tomato pickle with garlic flavors then add the cooled tomato mixture along with garlic to a grinder jar. Grind to a smooth paste.
18. To the tomato tamarind mixture, add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. If you do not blend the tomatoes, add these spices to the pan in which you cooked the tomatoes.
19. Mix well until the spices blend with tomatoes.
20. In another pan, Pour oil and heat it. When the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds. They will soon pop, then add red chilies.
21. Add crushed or sliced garlic and curry leaves. When the garlic is slightly roasted, add hing.
22. Now mix the tomato pickle with the tempering. Turn on the stove and begin to saute this for 5 to 8 minutes on a low heat. This step ensure a good shelf life.
23. Add methi powder and mustard powder in batches to suit your taste. Mix well and taste test. I use up all of the spice powders (methi and mustard) and also add more salt. Mix well and turn off.
24. Cool this completely and then store in a air tight glass jar. Store it in a shelf away from moisture and humidity.
I bottle the tomato pickle in many small jars, so each time I open a new jar, pickle smells fresh and tastes good. This keeps good in the refrigerator for 6 months and at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Tamarind is the key ingredient used for shelf life. The acidity in the tamarind helps in preserving it well. Though you can make the pickle without tamarind it won’t last long due to low acidic levels. However you can use vinegar in place of tamarind.
- If you prefer to store this tomato pickle for an year, double the amount of tamarind, red chilli powder and more salt. To preserve the same garlicky flavor double the amount of garlic in the pickle, not the tempering. You will need half cup oil for the tempering. Also add half teaspoon more of methi seeds to powder. I have tested this version as well & have shown the same in the step wise photos.
- Always keep your hands, ingredients and the utensils dry, free from moisture while preparing pickles.
- Always use a dry spoon to serve the pickles and store them in a dry and cool place.
Tomato Pickle Recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup red chili powder (4 tbsps, byadgi or kashmiri)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 25 to 30 grams tamarind (deseeded Indian dry tamarind or 50 grams with seeds)
- 15 grams garlic (optional, read notes)
- 1 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil for frying tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons salt (more to adjust)
- ¼ to ⅓ cup oil (mustard or peanut or sunflower)
- 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic (sliced or crushed, optional)
- 1 to 2 dried red chilli deseeded
- ¼ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
- Make sure all your ingredients and cutlery are dry and moist free. Wash tomatoes under running water and leave them aside.
- Skip this step if using tamarind pulp or want to add the tamarind directly to the pickle. Bring 6 tablespoons water to a rolling boil and add tamarind to it. Turn off the stove and let the tamarind soak in it.
- On a very low flame, dry roast fenugreek seeds on a low flame till they turn deep golden but not burnt. They must emit a nice aroma. Transfer to a plate and cool.
- If using mustard add them and dry roast on a low flame just for a minute or until they begin to pop but not burnt. Transfer to a plate and cool.
- Once cool, powder the seeds to a fine powder together or separately (mustard & fenugreek) . I prefer to do them separately as it is easy to adjust the quantities while using.
How to Make Tomato Pickle
- Heat a heavy bottom pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chopped tomatoes saute for 3 to 4 minutes and then cook covered until soft and mushy.
- Meanwhile squeeze the soaked tamarind fully with your fingers. You should see most of the pulp in the water and the fibers separated or loosened.
- When the tomatoes turn mushy and completely soft, place a strainer/colander over the pot and pour the tamarind pulp to it.
- Using a steel spoon, press down the pulp, so much of the extract goes into the pan. This way pass all of the tamarind to the pan. Discard the fibers and the leftover pulp in the colander/strainer.
- Cook this mixture until it becomes thick and begins to leave the pan. Turn off the stove.
- Optional: If you want you may cool this completely and blend to a smooth paste along with garlic in a grinder jar. This step gives you smooth pickle.
- Add chili powder, salt and turmeric to the tamarind and tomato mixture. Mix all of these until well blended.
Temper Tomato Pickle
- Heat oil in a pan until hot enough. Turn down the heat to low, add mustard seeds.
- When you hear the seeds splutter, add broken red chillies, garlic and curry leaves.
- Let the garlic sizzle and change their color slightly then add and pour this to the tomato pickle.
- Mix well until the oil incorporates into the tomato pickle. Then continue to cook on a low heat for 5 to 8 mins.
- Add methi and mustard powder. You may add in batches to see if you require all of the powder we made. I add all of it plus more salt at this stage. Turn off the heat.
- Cool the tomato pickle completely. Store this in a air tight glass bottle. Keep it at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks or up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
- Tomatoes: Use red ripe, and pulpy heirloom tomatoes.
- Red Chilli Powder: I used milled byadgi chilli powder that is pure and is not hot. So 4 tbsps gives a moderate level of heat to the pickle. If using any other variety, then feel free to cut down as much as you think is good enough. *Update – I have also made this with Kashmiri chilli powder and works well.
- Tamarind: This recipe is best made with dry tamarind for better shelf life. If you want to use tamarind concentrate start with less amounts. However I can’t guarantee about the shelf life. If you want you may add 25 grams deseeded tamarind directly to the pickle but I don’t prefer as tamarind contains lots of fibers, pulp & sometimes pesky ingredients. So I prefer to soak and then pass through a strainer.
- Garlic: Traditionally raw garlic is blended in with cooked tomatoes and tamarind. This gives a pungent, garlicy and hot flavor to the pickle. For a kids’ friendly version of this tomato pickle simply skip grinding the garlic and add all of them crushed to the tempering or reduce the quantities .
- To the Tempering/seasoning, 1 tbsp. channa dal and urad dal can be added and fried till golden, it imparts a good aroma to the pickle. They soak in the pickle and eventually taste tangy. Adding them is optional. Not everyone may like this, if you wish use them.
- For a more tangy, pungent and more spicy pickle that you can store for an year, double the quantity of tamarind, red chilli powder and garlic (not in the tempering). You will need half cup oil for the tempering and more salt. You can also add half teaspoon more of methi seeds to powder. I have tested this version as well.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Tomato pickle recipe first published in May 2012. Updated in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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