Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Apple Thokku

Pickles, pickles and more pickles - that's what I would answer if my mom or grandmother would ask what is the one food item I would want them to make for me to bring here to my house! Sure, I can hear my doctors words "You need to stay away from hot spicy food" - but do you seriously expect your truly to take that to heart? No way!

So, here I go making another jar of pickles to be stored in the refrigerator and eaten with anything - be it dosas, parathas, curd rice or even toasted bread. I love this particular one as it has a tangy taste. It's not just the heat from the red chilli powder, but also the tartness and sweetness from Granny Smith apples (the slightly sour green apples).

The spice level can be adjusted to taste. For those who have a mild palette, you can reduce the quantity of red chilli powder. Then it will be more like a chutney. Also, this recipe requires a lot of salt to balance the heat from the red chilli powder. The sesame oil gives the thokku a wonderful flavor. You could use any other oil if you don't have sesame oil though.

When I was in high school, my mom once took me to visit her aunt. It was at her place that I first tasted apple thokku, and absolutely loved it! Well, high school feels almost like another lifetime, so you can imagine how much I must have loved it for the memory to stick after all these years!

Anyways, once I got my own lab - err I mean kitchen - I set about trying my hand at different pickles. The first time I made apple thokku, it was more sweet and sour than spicy! When I was pregnant, during my first trimester I had a craving for the tart green apples. That was about the only thing I could tolerate during my bouts of nausea. So, DH always made it a point to stock a few Granny Smiths in the refrigerator. But as the second trimester rolled in, the craving turned into an aversion (don't ask me why, I am as clueless as the next person!). So, now I was left with a few apples that I did not want to eat and neither did hubby dearest. That is when I started looking for recipes to make something out of it. The rolling in my stomach said no way to apple pies. Then I thought why not pickles. I would just make it less spicy as I did not want too much heat in my diet. I tried it and it turned out quite tasty.

Since then I have made it a lot of times and with loads of chilli powder in it! Here goes the recipe...

Preparation & Cooking: 30 minutes
Granny Smith Apples - 2
Fenugreek/Methi Seeds - ½ teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - 2 heaped tablespoons (reduce the quantity if less spicy food is preferred)
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - ¼ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Hing/Asafoetida Powder - ¼ teaspoon
Sesame Oil - ¼ cup


  • Dry roast the methi seeds till they turn a reddish tinge. Cool and grind it into a smooth powder.

  • Peel, core and grate the apples. I use the shredding blade in my food processor to grate the apples.

  • Heat half the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add in the hing powder, fenugreek seeds and red chilli powder.
  • Give this a quick stir and immediately add in the grated apples. If you delay adding the apples, the red chilli powder will burn and give a bitter taste.
  • Add in the turmeric powder, salt, sugar and the remaining oil and give it a good mix.
  • Reduce the flame, cover and cook till the oil begins to ooze out. Keep stirring in between to prevent the apples from burning and sticking to the pan.

Finally switch off the gas, wait for it ti cool down and transfer the contents to a dry, airtight container/jar. Store in the refrigerator.

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