Tomato Pickle

Issues that required my immediate attention and also the planning, preparation and celebration of a themed birthday party for Nehal, who turned 6 a few days ago, had me away from the blogging world and internet. I have a long email list to clear and a couple of queries that need to be answered which hopefully will get done this week. 🙂

Last summer we grew a few tomato plants which gave a good yield of tomatoes. This summer we had a good bumper crop from our backyard vegetable garden at our ancestral home in our village. Early March this year, my mother prepared tomato pickle. There have been requests for a tomato pickle recipe (since its summer in US with many a backyard garden growing tomatoes) and I am blogging this recipe today.

I swear by Amma’s recipe for sun-dried tomato pickle. There are two types of tomato pickle she usually prepares, based on availability of fresh tomatoes, time and a good amount of sunshine. The sun dried version is labor intensive but totally worth the effort and time. Having said that, the other version she prepares is an instant tomato pickle that tastes equally good. It’s full flavored, well balanced, a little spicy with a superb garlicy tang and not to mention – a beautiful vibrant shade of red!

Tomato pickle – Ravva dosa with tomato pickle

This flavorful, tangy and spicy pickle works good with idlis, dosas and rice. One mouth-watering favorite combination of mine is to combine a tablespoon of tomato pickle in a cup of thick yogurt and serve with hot aloo parathas. Remember to use fresh, ripe and firm tomatoes for this pickle recipe.

Garden fresh tomatoes ready to be pickled

Tomato Pickle recipe

Recipe Source & Prep: Amma

Prep & Cooking: 1 hr 15 mts

Cuisine: Andhra


1 Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add the sliced tomatoes and cook on high heat for 5 mts. Reduce heat to medium high and continue to cook till the oil separates and the tomatoes turn mushy.
2 Towards the end of the cooking process as the oil seperates, reduce heat and keep stirring till the oil separates completely (the tomatoes could take a good 45 mts to an hour to cook). Turn off heat, add the tamarind and place lid. The tamarind will soften with the heat of the cooked tomatoes. Cool completely.
3 Once cool, add salt and grind the cooked tomatoes along with tamarind to a paste. Remove onto a vessel. Add chilli pwd and methi pwd. Combine.
3 In a pan, add 2 tbsps oil, add mustards seeds, methi seeds and fry till the mustard splutters and the methi turns red. Add the dry red chillis, curry leaves and saute for a few seconds and turn off heat. Add the crushed garlic and leave aside the tempering for 4-5 mts.
4 Once cool, add this tempering along with oil to the tomato paste. Combine well. Cool and store in an airtight bottle. Refrigerate.


Use tamarind only if the tomatoes are sweet without any tang. Usually slightly tangy tomatoes work best for this pickle.

Tomato Pickle

Tomato Pickle

  Prepare time:
 Serves: 2

 Main Ingredients:

  •  tomato


  •   1 1/2 kg tomatoes, wash, dry and slice
  •   large lemon sized tamarind (use if the tomatoes lack tang)
  •   2 tbsps red chilli pwd (adjust)
  •   1 tsp methi pwd
  •   1 1/2 – 2 tbsps salt (adjust)
  •   2-3 tbsps oil
  • For tempering/poppu/tadka:

  •   1 tsp mustard seeds
  •   pinch of methi seeds
  •   15 fresh curry leaves
  •   3-4 dry red chillis
  •   15 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
  •   2 tbsps oil

Method for making Tomato Pickle

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add the sliced tomatoes and cook on high heat for 5 mts. Reduce heat to medium high and continue to cook till the oil separates and the tomatoes turn mushy.
Towards the end of the cooking process as the oil seperates, reduce heat and keep stirring till the oil separates completely (the tomatoes could take a good 45 mts to an hour to cook). Turn off heat, add the tamarind and place lid. The tamarind will soften with the heat of the cooked tomatoes. Cool completely.
Once cool, add salt and grind the cooked tomatoes along with tamarind to a paste. Remove onto a vessel. Add chilli pwd and methi pwd. Combine.
In a pan, add 2 tbsps oil, add mustards seeds, methi seeds and fry till the mustard splutters and the methi turns red. Add the dry red chillis, curry leaves and saute for a few seconds and turn off heat. Add the crushed garlic and leave aside the tempering for 4-5 mts.
Once cool, add this tempering along with oil to the tomato paste. Combine well. Cool and store in an airtight bottle. Refrigerate.


  • Shibani

    Excellent recipe and glad to see ur post after a long time.

  • Nirmala

    What a lovely color! Gald to see u back Sailu! and a themed ‘day party sounds very interesting. I know u would have an idea about posting it but I insist one soon so that I can do something for my kid’s b’day too 🙂

  • Lavi

    With Garlic and floating oil and the looks so Attractive. I had tasted the sun dried tomato pickle a long back..It will be Nice, if you could share your mom’s SUN Dried Tomato Pickle Recipe..

  • Sonu

    Hi Sailu,
    first time at ur blog…have found interesting recipes here. I love ur step-by-step recipe for dosa with snaps. this Tomato pickle look yummy…! Thanks for sharing.

  • Lubna Karim

    Nice to see you back with yummy tomato pickle.

  • Alka

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooo happy to c u back…..wish belated happy b’day to Nehal. Will love to hear all the fun and frolic at the b’day party….my kid will turn 6 in few i guess cud take some handy hints and tips abt arranging party
    And do i need to say anything abt the pickle?As such sindhis are mad about any pickle …more the spice and tanginess…more the craze…so obviously i just loved reading the recipe.

    Thank you Alka for the bday wishes. The party was sure fun and Nehal and his friends enjoyed to the hilt. Arranging a bday party for 6 year old boy is no joke and managing nearly 50 kids in the age group of 5-10 is no easy task but all my efforts paid off.:)

  • Maryam

    I’m in New York and my mother has a ton of tomatoes– I will be making this for sure! My son just turned 6 as well– I’d be interested to see what you did. I’m sure it was wonderful!

    Belated bday wishes to your son, Maryam.

  • Paz

    Very nice recipe and Happy Birthday to Nehal!


    Thank you Paz for the bday wishes.

  • swathi

    I really love this pickle. thanks for posting.

  • shaikhmohammed

    hello, i like this recipe but it is more chutney looklike rather than saying it is a pickle. what wud be shelflife of this pickle? thanks.

    If refrigerated, stays fresh for many months.

  • revathi

    The pickle looks delicious – can just take a bite right off the screen. Happy Birthday to Nehal !!

    Thank you, Revathi, for the bday wishes for Nehal.

  • R.Punitha

    Hi Sailu,
    i’m Punitha, What a comeback????!!!!
    Really it is a pleasant surprise!!!!
    Please keep in touch with us Sailu.
    Hereafter Sailu, no leave to you from your mail friends……

  • Sailaja Prakash

    Hi Sailu,
    I want to taste the pickle from the photo itself. It’s mouth watering. Can’t wait. Right now don’t have enough tomatoes. Very soon will get them and give a try.
    Thanks a lot for the pickle.

  • Divya Vikram

    Looks mouthwatering!

  • Mallika

    Great use of summer tomatoes. I could eat some right now!!

  • Tarannum

    Hi sailu, thank god u r back! Nice recipe again 🙂 I want the recipe for the sun-dried version too.

  • Cham

    Belated wishes to Nehal! The pickle is in right timing … I looked in ur archives for tomato pickle few days back and here u re 🙂 Mouthwatering pickle!

    Thank you, Cham, for the bday wishes for Nehal.

  • Mamatha

    That looks simply yummy – bookmarking the recipe. Happy belated birthday to Nehal.

    Thank you, Mamatha, for the bday wishes for Nehal.

  • nags

    great to see you back 🙂 i am yet to try out pickles full swing but surely this and green chilly pickle from my mom will top the list!

  • raaji

    Its quite a relief to see ur recipe after such a longbreak.
    Hope Nehal had a great time for his B’day.
    How long will this pickle stay refrigerated??????

    Nehal had lots of fun, Raaji.
    The pickle stays fresh refrigerated for a very long time – atleast 6-8 months.

  • Bharti

    Hi Sailu
    Happy Birthday to Nehal! This is lovely lovely that I will try out for sure. We’re quite crazy about tomatoes and this pickle looks very tempting!

    Thank you for your wishes for Nehal, Bharti.

  • Sonu

    Forgot to wish…Belated Happy B’day to ur son Nehal…!

    Thank you for your bday wishes for Nehal.

  • VidyaSB

    Looks yummy – both pickle and Rava dosa 🙂

  • Gauri

    That’s a nice recipe. I make something like this, with kadhipatta tadka, add spices to the cooked tomatoes and consume at once.. grinding the cooked tomatoes and re-doing the tadka is something that will add to the longevity I guess.. Looks delicious, and 6-8 months shelf-life is a major add-on!
    What was theme? Wishes to Nehal… Also, am curious to know the menu 🙂 I have said this before, and saying again, your family is so lucky to have such a wonderful, proactive food-person in the family…

    Thank you for your bday wishes for Nehal, Gauri. The theme for Nehal’s bday was his favorite character (TV) – Ben 10. I was lucky to be able to receive some Ben stuff (including some take home gifts) from my sister who lives in US. These are not available in India yet as they were just released in the US market last month. I got a few characters, about 11 of them, painted on four foot plastic sheets which were pasted along the walls of the venue. The highlight was a large digital print, 4 ft by 5 1/2 ft, of Ben 10 with his team (downloaded the image from internet) which I got framed and put up near the cake table. Two cakes were ordered with Ben 10 theme. I didn’t cook/bake anything as it was a party for over 125 people with 50 kids and 75 adults, we arranged at a hotel which served good food. The party started at 6 and ended at 10. I arranged a tattoo trap and beauty corner (for the little girls). The decorations were yellow and green balloons and the chef tried to follow a green and yellow theme food-wise.:) There was ballooning (swords, flowers and poodle) and games (prizes). The menu was as follows:
    1. Welcome drink – fruit based
    2. 4 appetizers – 2 veg + 2 non-veg – [kids & adults just loved all of them]
    a) Spinach and Cheese dumplings
    b) Vegetable lollipops
    c) Chicken Winglets – Chinese style
    d) Crispy Prawn – Chinese style
    3. Chaat Counter
    Bhel Puri, Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri
    4. Live Dosa Counter
    Masala Dosa and Plain Dosas (3 chutneys and potato curry)
    5. Vegetable Hakka Noodles
    6. Vegetable Manchurian in Hot Garlic Sauce
    7. Curd Rice (with a couple of pickles, papad and sun-dried chillis) (on special request from two parents whose kids don’t eat much food outside their home and they requested for curd rice)
    8. Desserts – Ice cream with Hot chocolate Sauce & Hot Jalebis (live counter) and of course the bday cake.:)

  • Sia

    belated birthday wishes to Nehal. i hope he had gr8 time… 🙂
    and that tomato pickle is to die for. thanks Sailu for this recipe. I am going to make it pretty soon.

    Thank you, Sia, for the bday wishes for Nehal.

  • Padmaja

    A big hug to little Nehal and hope he had a great Ben10 Party Sailu, Just saw the menu and I am like, gosh I so wish I was there at the party with Noel. Hope u all had a great time!!

    Nehal had a great time, Padmaja, and wish Noel was around too. I’m sure he would have enjoyed the Ben 10 party.:)

  • notyet100

    tomato pickle looks nice,,,and fab menu for dinner..;-)..

  • Bhawana

    Hi Sailaja, Belated happy Birthday To Nehal. After coming to bangalore we got to know abt tomato pickle and we always have it at home now:). Now I found to make this at home too. I tried ur palak paneer too it was tasty.

    Going thru comments I found the menu of the party, did you make all the things for so many people??? or ordered from hotel???

    Thank you, Bhawana, for the bday wishes for Nehal. I could never prepare a menu like that for over 125 people at home, Bhawana. We had organised the party at a hotel.

  • Bhawana

    wow it must have been a great event :). Post some pics if it is fine for you. So far I have not attended any event based on theme. I wish I could be a friend of Nehal and attended the party, coooooooooool :).

  • swapna

    hi sailaja,
    convey my belated birthday wishes to nehal.wish i was 6 yrs old too,i would have made friendship with him and attended his rocking party.
    if possible do post few of his party snaps sailaja,would love to see them.

  • Kalyani

    hi sailu:

    have been to ur web site quite a number of times and have also tried some of ur recipes, incl the set dosas..
    I think ur USP are the pix-crystal clear…not to mention the amazing recipes and cool step by step instructions !! kudos to all ur efforts…its amazing to see the passion u display in detailing out ur recipes…
    basically from bangalore, I have been dying to eat andhra food as I am foodie myself..I enjoy cooking for others !! I did get some opportunity to taste some food in hyderabad on my occasional visits there but in mumbai where i live now, I strongly recommend u should start a restaurant..or rather a chain !! can strongly assure u that the food would go flying off the shelves!! 🙂
    do give it a thought !!
    the chutney is amazing although I do make a slightly less spicier version, am sure i will try it out.. however PLS post that sun dried version soon pls.
    cheers and lots of hugs to Nehal on his happy birthday
    best regards

  • sunitha

    hi sailu

    i am sunitha. i am a great fan of your wonderful recipes. We live in canada so dont get all indian veggies, still i cook typical south indian food at home (we r from tirupati). Most of the recipes i do r posted by u only, we r really enjoying,thank u.

  • sangeetha M

    hi sailu,

    Yummy tomato chutney….but i would like to know the time to dry tomatoes.
    You have mentioned ….”1 1/2 kg tomatoes, wash, dry and slice”
    I would be happy if the amount of time to dry tomatoes is known.


    You can wipe dry with a kitchen towel and leave to dry completely for a few more minutes.

  • kv

    Hello sailaja,

    thank you for the wonderful recipe. i have always loved ur recipes and love ur writing style too..keep up the good work.

    i have a few questions and i hope to get a reply. thanks for ur time in advance. I will be grateful if you can send me an email.

    1. Can i use tamarind paste for this pickle? (mom sends me the paste from india..i believe it has turmeric and some salt).
    2. have u posted a sun dried version of this pickle? i couldnt find one..
    3. how do i know if i have boiled the tomatoes there a need for all the water(from the tomatoes) to be evaporated completely?

    Thank you for your kind words, kv. Yes, you can use the tamarind paste sent by your mother. Just reduce salt in the pickle as the tamarind already contains some salt. But I’d advice you to use fresh tamarind. You could always make a small portion of pickle and test.

    I am yet to post a sun dried tomato pickle. You will know when the tomatoes have boiled as it becomes like a thick mass of paste and the oil separates. Its important that the water evaporates completely.

  • padmapriya

    Dear Shailu,

    I am new member to your site, recently while browsing i encountered your site and from then onwards i am hooked. I was just going through the tomato pickle recipe and found it interesting and immediately tried out and it came out very well, thanks for the recipe. My child is turning 8 and i am planning to organise a theme bday party in coming january, thanks for the details you shared of nehals bday. i will take a cue from it and last but not the least can you give us recipes of authentic recipes like ulava charu, bommidayala pulusu etc?

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  • lavanya

    Nice one…it is very help full .

  • vemulap

    dear sailu,
    thanks for the recipes which i have tried and they have come out very well. thanks once again. i have been wanting to write this for a long time about how i felt reading your party for your little boy. congratulations first of all on your boy growing bigger each day. may he have lots of health and wealth all his long life.

    it’s very nice of you to have had such a big banquet for all the friends and their kids. but don’t you think that much money either in indian rupees or dollars is a lot for a birthday. maybe you could have spent the money on some poor kids but still had a small party for yourselves. people like you who can afford to sponsor little kids and make a difference to their lives should do something. you can make a difference. i happiness which you bring to children who don’t have anyone to remember their birthday is immense. pl don’t take offence. i just thought i would let you know my opinion.

    Thank you for your wishes for my son, Vemulap. I have not taken offence to your opinion. I respect it.

    My family since our forefathers have been sharing and caring for the less fortunate. My husband and I are continuing on that and are proud to be sponsoring not one child but many and making a significant difference to their lives every single day. The happiness derived is immeasurable. Since Nehal’s birth we have never celebrated his birthday except spend time with the children we are sponsoring. My husband and I decided to grant Nehal’s wish to have a Ben 10 theme party for his 6th birthday since he’s at an age where he understands a lot better. Nehal has been going for his friends birthday parties and enjoying himself and bringing home loads of goodies. This is the first party that I have had a large gathering with family and friends for my son since his birth to make him happy. I do not regret my decision. I believe in giving 100% to whatever I do, be it for family or the less fortunate. Yes, I had to think twice before starting the whole thing esp keeping in mind the budget. The budget was definitely on the higher side but when deciding on a theme, it called for such funds. And his friends expected to have fun at the party and I had to arrange for them to have a good time. 🙂

    I have never mentioned about “giving back to the community” that my family is doing, in my blog. Its my personal life and am low profile. After giving up work, I am working very very closely with the less fortunate (adults who are physically challenged) in numerous ways. I spend significant man hours help solve their problems be it with the authorities or elsewhere and help them move on in life. I counsel and care for them because I am concerned about them and do it at a very personal level. I give TIME which I think is more important than money.

    God never asked us not to enjoy the good things in life which He made for our pleasure and the blessings he showers on us. I am thankful and count my blessings every day. I am trying to be happy and make others happy in my own little way. 🙂

  • vemulap

    dear sailu,
    thanks for the quick reply. congratulations once again for all the good work that you are doing and i am happy that you didn’t take offence. this shows that you really are a mature lady. i said all those things in my comment because i have hardly seen any indians here (australia) do something for others who need help. good for you. when i do things like volunteering or helping the less lucky people in india people are always surprised. i felt bad and guilty after watching the first half hour of the movie, slumdog millionaire, and had to leave the theatre out of hurt and guilt and helplessness while knowing that is the india that we heard of but never saw. anyway, thanks for the reply without being annoyed. wishing you and your family the best always.

  • kusuma

    Hi sailu,

    Nice one and I’m sure going to try this. But I have a doubt.

    Should we fry the methi seeds for methi powder?

    thank you.

    Yes, dry roast the methi seeds and make a fine pwd.

  • Tarannum

    i think we’ve waited long enough for the sun dried tomato pickle recipe!! please post soon! 🙂

    Alright here goes, sun dried tomato pickle recipe.

  • Minti

    I would love to try out the sun dried pickle too. I hope it’s coming soon:) ?

  • soumya ajeesh nair

    dear shailaja,

    your tomato pickle recipe is fantastic.I tried it out.It looks yummy.I also became a fan of your mouth watering recipes.we want more from you…especially dried tomato pickle recipe.I want you to post the recipe for brinjal pickle.I had dat yummy pickle wen i was in hostel and dat taste is still on my toungue….one of my andhra friend got me dat….pls post dat also….

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  • sonu

    hi sailu,
    I liked your recipe very much…i want to know shelf life of this instant version..thanks

    • Sailu

      You can store upto 5-6 months in the refrigerator.

  • Meghamanek

    will it leave oil next day? i tried mine doesnt look as oily as yours ?

  • Bujji

    hello sailu,
    can u suggest me which oil is best for this pickle?

  • Sia Krishna

    Sailu, I have made this pickle thrice already and have converted almost every one in my family a tomato pickle lover 🙂 thank you for sharing this fool proof lip smacking recipe 🙂

  • GS

    Hi Sailu, This is the 1st ever pickle i tried in my life which is an accomplishment in itself. And to think that it would turn out so lip smacking delicious is an understatement! I love the precise instructions that you give like the instance of methi turning red in this recipe. Simple steps but important taste wise. Love the recipe and I will keep trying again for sure 🙂

  • aruna tayi

    dear sailu,
    since you have cooked the pickle, will it stay for long and how many days?i am asking since pickles are stored for many months?

    • Sailu | Indian Food

      You will need to refrigerate for longer shelf life