Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple Thokku/Pickle

Dear Foodies,

All of you have heard the oft spoken adage - An apple a day keeps the doctor away. I have too, but the apples that I see on the store shelves all year long just don't seem worth it. For a month or so I tried eating them as an afternoon snack, but though I bought organic apples, they still did not taste great. It was eating for eating sake with no real apple flavor in those pieces. Sometimes I forget to use up the last one or two and the apples seem to look the same for weeks! I cannot put trust in fresh fruit that refuses to rot for that long and so I almost stopped buying any more apples. The only form that I have them in my pantry is as applesauce that I use for baking and in smoothies.

The best apples I had in recent times were the ones in Julian, Ca. They also make the best apple pie you'll ever eat. Fresh apples from the farm, cooked just right and served while still warm from the oven == absolute bliss. But that is not the what I want to talk about today..the reason I brought up the topic of apples is when I bit into a Granny Smith it got me excited about apples again. The tart, crisp and juicy Granny Smiths reminded me of the raw mangoes that filled my Indian summers. Cut in slivers, dusted with some salt & chilli powder, gobbled up just as soon as I got my hands on them were our snack through the summer. We had a mango tree in our backyard and the sight of the first mangoes of the season was a celebration. Their tartness makes you pucker up and no matter how much you try you cannot stop yourself from having more.

After the best raw mangoes were set aside for the famous batch of Andhra avakaya, the rest promptly got turned into fresh cut mango pickle and my favorite, thokku to satiate our pickle cravings. Finely grated mangoes are cooked to get the moisture out and then seasoned with typical pickle ingredients like mustard fenugreek, salt and red chilli powder. I could have it with rice & curd, dosa's, chapati or just by itself :) The crisp Granny Smiths brought back all those great memories and I instantly set on the task of turning them into a thokku. They work great also in terms of texture since this variety holds up to cooking. The result was fabulous, and I am thrilled that I no longer have to look for raw green mangoes in the store anymore. And even if I do, I am sure they'll be gone before I can think of cooking them.

I used my mandoline to grate the apples to get them fine enough for the thokku but still not as fine that they turn to pulp. Always use the safety holder when using a mandoline, the blades on those are extra sharp and it won't take more than a second to have your skin scraped off or worse! Unfortunately, I learned from experience :( Just a day after I had moved to SD along with V, I brought out the mandoline to grate a chunk of coconut. In my hurry, I ignored the safety holder and instead of grated coconut I had shaved off a piece of skin on my finger...very painful, so please take care.

Granny Smith Apple Thokku
Prep time: 15-20mins
Cooking time: 15mins
  • 1 nos - Granny Smith Apple, grated
  • 1 nos - dried Red Chilli
  • 1/2 tsp - Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp - Fenugreek powder (lightly toast seeds & powder)
  • 1-1.5 tsp - Red Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp - Turmeric powder
  • pinch of Hing/Asafoetida 
  • 2-3 Tbsp - Gingelly/Sesame Oil (untoasted)
  • Salt to taste (~ 1tsp kosher salt)
  1. Heat sesame oil in a non-reactive saute pan, toss in mustard seeds and once they begin to splutter add dried red chilli, breaking it into pieces.
  2. Add hing, turmeric and then grated apple to the oil and cook until the moisture in the apple is cooked out, about 6-8 mins. Its done when the grated apple comes together as one mass and oil starts to separate and collect around the corners.
  3. Turn off the heat, add fenugreek powder, red chili powder and mix well. Once cooled store in a dry, airtight container and refrigerate. 
Notes: To make fresh fenugreek powder, lightly toast the seeds in a dry pan until fragrant and grind to a fine powder once cooled. I got twice the amount you see in the photographs from one apple. This is still a fresh pickle, so make it in small quantities and refrigerate. When you can find raw green mangoes use the same method to make mango thokku.
I loved it. I had it with curd rice, the absolute best pairing there could be. The next day I had it on crackers and some soft cheese spread as an evening snack. I also spread it on bread while making a burger sandwich for dinner. Its so addictive that once you make it you will come with many more creative ways to sneak it into every single meal you eat. Its been a while since I had the original thokku with raw mangoes to make an exact comparison, but this one surely wasn't lacking in flavor. With apples on almost all grocery stores shelves there is hardly any excuse to not make it.  

24 thoughts:

Manisha said...

What a great idea, Priya! I never thought of using Granny Smith as a sub for unripe mangoes. Hmmm! So many possibilities!

divya said...

Delicious n mouthwatering....looks really yum.. great idea dear....very innovative...

Nags said...

love the idea! bookmarked!

jayashree` said...

Innovative way of using tart apples.
Thokku looks appetizing.

Hari Chandana said...

Nice and perfect thokku.. looks absolutely tempting dear.. nice clicks too :)
Indian Cuisine

Sharmilee! :) said...

Thokku with green apple sounds and looks so good...And beautiful clicks

indosungod said...

Ooh! that looks delicious. A friend had made sundal adding granny smith apples just like we would raw mango.
Absolutely no excuse not to make some tasty thokku.

Ami's Vegetarian Delicacies said...

What a great creativity....I adore your smartness in trying thokku with granny smith. Those apples are so like raw mangoes, however till today it never stroked me. now I know why I like granny smith.

I'm like you too, I spread pickles to sandwiches and think of different ways to eat pickles.

Shammi said...

My mother came up with this idea awhile back and I havent stopped thanking my stars that she did.

I agree with you, Granny Smith apple thokku is a pretty damn good substitute for the mango one, given that sour mangoes are very hard to get where I live! :)

Tina said...

gr8 idea dear...pickle looks yummy..

Now Serving said...

Apple thokku looks too yummy dear - I make it sometimes with grannysmiths because they can be good and sour :)
Also Stopped by to let you know that i am sharing a couple of awards on my blog - please do collect :)

Sujatha said...

Very interesting recipe.. Would love to try it soon..

Priya said...

Manisha, yes, I can't wait to experiment more with this. let me know if you find a good recipe :)

Divya, I was pleasantly surprised too by how good it tasted/

Nags, thank you :) And I wish I had read abt your visit to the US earlier, would have loved to meet you.

Jayashree, yaa, now I no longer have to look for expensive green mangoes.

Hari, thank you, it was nice to make thokku after a looong time.

Sharmilee, please do give it a try, its delicious :)

indo, thenga-manga sundal is one my favs, thank you for the idea. Will give it a try soon :)

Amy, I had a few granny smiths lying arnd from a visit to the temple earlier that week and the idea was a stroke of luck. I have a shelf in my kitchen dedicated to pickles, can't do without them :D

Shammi, 2006! I missed out on so many years of thokku :(( I wonder how I missed it on your blog since it was around 2006 I think, that I stumbled upon on it. better late than never I guess!

Tina, thank you :)

Priya, now I am tempted to give your morkozhambu a try with them :) will come by right away..

Sujatha, please do, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Tried this thokku today it was yum.I grated the apples on a muslin cloth so all the moisture was absorbed.Thanks for sharing this receipe.

Rechelle said...

I think that I will try this one, I have to find out where to buy some of the ingredients.
ps we met at the crochet class :) I will share some of y recent projects..

The Weight Watcher said...

Wow, granny smith apples standing in for raw mangoes? what a brainwave! :)

Love your photographs! In fact, have been following your blog for a while now, but de-lurked today, just to tell you that you have a bunch of awards waiting for you in my blog! Go check them out and accept them, please! :)

Mehjabeen Arif said...

great idea.. never even thought of apple pickle.. looks yummy..

new to ur space n happy to follow u

do visit me when u get time

Vardhini said...

First time here .. lovely blog .. apple thokku looks yummy ..
Drop by my space when you get a chance. Following you ..


Chitra said...

wow innovative idea...sure that it tasted yummy...

Rinku Naveen said...

Sounds very interesting Priya!
Superb clicks.

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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SpicyTasty said...

That looks so yumm. Cant wait to try.

Prathima Rao said...

Awesome space with brilliant photography!!!! Glad i stopped by & now ur follower!!!
Prathima Rao
Parts Corner

createwithmom said...

delicious pickle this looks wonderful first time in your lovely site

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