This version of the spicy South Indian condiment is made with green and red gooseberries, which have different levels of sweetness.
By Chitra Agrawal
Thokku is a South Indian spicy condiment dish halfway between a chutney and an Indian pickle that you usually eat mixed with hot rice or served on the side of idli or dosa. It can last for a few weeks and is very versatile so you can have it with most anything – with cheese & crackers, on a sandwich, mixed into noodles, etc. I’ve seen it made from a variety of different sour or tart fruits like cranberries, tomato and flipping through an old recipe book with my mom, we came across a thokku recipe made from green mango. When I received these red & green gooseberries in my farm share I thought I’d try my hand at my first thokku.
- 1 pound red and green gooseberries, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons vegetable, peanut or sesame oil
- 1 big pinch hing or asafetida
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ⅓ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- jaggery or brown sugar - optional*
- salt to taste
- In a pan, heat oil under medium heat. Add in the hing and black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the fenugreek seeds until they just start to turn golden brown but not dark brown - should be 15-30 seconds. Quickly add in turmeric and then gooseberries. Give everything a good stir and let the gooseberries cook until they start to become soft and mushy - 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the red chili powder and salt and cook until the gooseberries are completely broken down and thicken into a chutney-like consistency - about 10-15 minutes.
- Cool and then transfer to a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator and use up to a few weeks.
- *I felt that my gooseberries were on the sweet side so no sugar was needed but you can add some while cooking if yours are super sour or tart.
Chitra writes the food blog, The ABCD's of Cooking, which chronicles her adventures cooking American Born Confused Desi recipes. When she is not recipe blogging, Chitra can be found hosting her online cooking show and a supper club featuring Indian-inspired, vegetarian cuisine. She also teaches cooking classes and sells Indian street foods (sometimes yummy Indian tacos!) at events and artisanal markets in Brooklyn. Her cooking has appeared in the New York Times Dining Journal and she is a contributor to The Huffington Post, Gojee, The Daily Meal and Brooklyn Based.