Tomato Pickle / Tomato Pachadi

Spicy and Tangy Andhra style Instant tomato pickle.

An Andhra thali or menu is not complete without some kinda pickle or chutney with curd rice. Tomato pickle or Tomato Pachadi is an Instant pickle that is tangy, spicy, super easy to make and simply delicious! Enjoy it as is with rice and a dollop of ghee or as a side with curd rice.

Tomato pickle in 2 mason jars with garlic, curry leaves and tomatoes around it.

This year I had a bounty of tomatoes in my little garden. Being in Seattle, I miss growing vegetables throughout the year. The ground starts to freeze from November, so there is just no hope. Yes, I have tried indoor garden, but I don’t have enough room and its so hard to keep the plants safe from the family. I am hoping to invest in a Greenhouse soon but until then, we love our summer vegetables and fruits. Tomatoes took over my backyard and we had plenty. So, naturally, we make pickle. My kids love dunking their dosas, idlis and parathas in this spicy pickle and we love it with our curd rice.

What spices are used to make Tomato Pickle?

  • Oil: In a typical pickle, Sesame oil is used but you can use any flavorless oil you like. Avocado, Sunflower or Canola oil work great in this recipe. I used avocado oil here.
  • Fenugreek seedsFenugreek seeds or methi seeds add a special kind of bitterness to the pickle that goes perfectly well with the tomatoes.
  • Mustard seedsMustard seeds, in my opinion, is the most important ingredient in a pickle. They have an amazing aroma when ground and remind me of summer back home.
  • Red Chili powder: Some pickles do not use red chili powders in their recipes, especially the north Indian style pickles, but its a must ingredient in a South Indian Pickle. Make sure you get a bright red one for a beautiful red pickle. Spice level is entirely dependent on the red chili powder you use, so adjust the spice accordingly.
  • Tempering the pickle or Tadka: Tempering or Tadka is when spices are infused in hot oil and then added to the dish to enhance the entire dish. It adds fresh aroma and textures to the pickle, do not skip this step. We use mustard seedscumin seedsdried red chilieschana dalsplit urad dal and garlic for tempering here. However, if you don’t have all the ingredients mentioned, just add garlic to hot oil and use that as tadka. I have had readers telling me not to add garlic to a pickle, but I believe it depends on your personal taste. I personally love garlic in any form, but if you are not a fan, feel free to skip it.
Tomatoes in a wicker basket.

How to make the Tomato pickle?

This is an instant pickle and needs to be cooked and not fermented. My mom makes a nice fermented pickle by drying the tomatoes in sun for 3-4 days and then making the pickle, but since we don’t have continuous access to sunlight, this is the best and instant method. I am using my 3 quart Instant pot to cook my tomatoes and they get done without much babysitting. It can be cooked in a regular pan as well, but you need to stir them every few minutes.

In Instant pot:
  • Rinse your tomatoes under running water and air dry them until they are completely dry. The key to making any pickle is to make sure your ingredients and containers are completely dry.
  • Clean the tamarind, remove any debris, strings, seeds etc. This step is important as we don’t want to get tamarind strings in the pickle or don’t want to break the blender by blending the seeds.
  • Quarter the tomatoes and add tomatoes and cleaned tamarind to your Instant pot insert and pressure cook/Manual mode for 5 minutes. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.
Process image for making the tomato pickle.
On the Stove top:
  • Rinse your tomatoes under running water and air dry them until they are completely dry.
  • Clean the tamarind, remove any debris, strings, seeds etc.
  • Quarter the tomatoes and cook them down with tamarind in a large pan. Do not cover the pan and let the tomatoes get completely mushy and cooked. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.
Cooking the tomatoes and tamarind on stove top.

Tempering the pickle:

  • While the Tomatoes are cooking, dry roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds for 1 minute or until they become aromatic.
  • Let them cool and transfer to a blender. Grind into a fine powder.
  • In the same blender with the mustard-methi powder, add the cooked tomatoes, garlic, salt and red chili powder and blend only for few seconds. We do not want to make into a fine paste, we just want everything to be blended together.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add oil and when its hot, add chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chilies.
  • When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add crushed garlic cloves and curry leaves. I like to add ton of garlic to my pickles.
  • When the garlic starts to turn light brown, add the blended tomato mixture and mix everything.
  • Cook everything for 20-30 minutes on a slow flame(medium-low) or until the oil starts to ooze out.
  • Let the pickle cool down completely and transfer to a dry and airtight jar.
Tomato pickle in a mason jar with garlic, curry leaves and tomatoes around it.

Frequently asked questions about Instant Tomato Pickle:

What is Tomato pickle served with?

Tomato pickle tastes best with Curd rice or with plain rice. You can serve this with dosa, idli, Parathas too! It also tastes amazing with quinoa pongal or any upma recipes.

How to store the Tomato pickle?

Its very important to store the pickle in a dry container. This pickle stays fresh for 2 weeks at room temperature or up to 3 months in the refrigerator.

Which Tomatoes are used for Tomato pickle? Is there a specific breed?

You can use any tomatoes you have on hand. Cherry tomatoes work too! I have a mix of on-the-vine and roma tomatoes in my garden this year, so I used that.

Important things to remember while handling pickles:

Its very important to use dry jars to store the pickle and equally important to use dry spoons when using the pickle.

Yield: 1 pint

Tomato pickle

Tomato pickle in a mason jar with garlic, curry leaves and tomatoes around it.

Spicy and Tangy Andhra style Instant tomato pickle.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients for Tempering the pickle/ Tadka:

Instructions

  1. Rinse the tomatoes under running water and air dry them until they are completely dry.
  2. Clean the tamarind, remove any debris, strings, seeds etc.

In Instant pot:

  1. Quarter the tomatoes and add tomatoes and cleaned tamarind to your Instant pot. Pressure cook/Manual mode for 5 minutes. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.
  2. Let the pressure release naturally and let the tomatoes cool down completely.

On the Stove Top:

  1. Quarter the tomatoes and cook them down with tamarind in a large pan. Do not cover the pan and let the tomatoes get completely mushy. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER.
  2. Let the tomatoes cool down completely.

Making the pickle:

  1. While the Tomatoes are cooking, dry roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds for 1 minute or until they become aromatic.
  2. Let them cool and transfer to a blender. Grind into a fine powder.
  3. In the same blender with the mustard-methi powder, add the cooked tomatoes, garlic, salt and red chili powder and blend for few seconds.

Tempering the pickle:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add oil and when its hot, add chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried red chilies.
  2. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add crushed garlic cloves and curry leaves.
  3. When the garlic starts to turn light brown, add the blended tomato mixture and mix everything.
  4. Cook everything for 20-30 minutes on a slow flame(medium-low) or until the oil starts to ooze out.
  5. Let the pickle cool down completely and transfer to a dry and airtight jar.

Notes

  • The key to making any pickle is to make sure your ingredients and containers are completely dry. Do not add any water anywhere in this recipe. Make sure all your equipment is dry and clean.
  • Spice level is entirely dependent on the red chili powder you use, so add only half of the quantity mentioned in the recipe and then add more if needed.
  • Tempering or Tadka adds fresh aroma and textures to the pickle, do not skip that step. However, if you don't have all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe, just add garlic to hot oil and use that as tadka.

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