Tomato Pickle | Andhra Style Tomato Nilva Pachadi with Sun Drying Method

South India is very popular in pickle making and the range of pickles from instant chutney/pachadi to year round pickles (stay fresh without spoiling). Nilva or Niluva means staying fresh for months.

Traditionally tomato nilava pachadi is made by sun drying salted fresh tomatoes. This process dries out and removes the moisture from the tomatoes and helps in storing the pickle for months.

Pickles can be done in two ways. One is the easy, quick and instant method and the other is the method which needs little more efforts and utmost care while making it as the long time storage pickles spoil in no time if not made with proper precautions. Even a drop of water or any left over water on the utensils can spoil the pickle.

Traditionally Mango pickle is the main pickle made with utmost care because mangoes are available only in summer, and that pickle should last over a year. Similarly Tomato pickle is also long time lasting pickle if made by sundried method.

The recipe does not take too many ingredients and the key ingredients are tomatoes, tamarind, red chilly powder and garlic which are easily available in our Indian kitchens.

One more important thing is, pickle should be refrigerated to retain color and freshness for longer periods of time. You can transfer small quantities of pickle into a smaller jar for regular use.

Sun drying vs Oven baking

Summer time is the best time to make pickles as they require hot sun. But this particular tomato pickle can be done just within 1 day if it gets enough sun.

If you like to make this pickle even in winter where there is no heat from sun, the best way is to use oven. If using oven, preheat oven to 250°F,

Pour the soaking liquid into a glass or ceramic bowl and add tamarind to it.

Place the drained tomato slices onto a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet.

Bake the tomatoes for 2-2½ hours or until the slices appear to be dry. They do not have to be very dry. It just needs to take as much moisture out of the tomato as possible and this simulates traditional sun-drying process.

I love having a jar of this spicy and addictive tomato niluva pachadi always in the fridge. It is great to serve with rice with a generous drizzle of ghee. And even with dosa, idli, chapathi, poha, tossed puffed rice(uggani) or upma.

Tomato pickle here in this post is shown in detail with a step by step procedure with the help of a video can be very easy to follow.

More Chutney Recipes you may like:

How to make Nilva(Niluva) Tomato Pachadi

PREP TIME: 30 MINS  DRYING TIME: 5-6 HRS COOK TIME: 15 MINS  TOTAL TIME: 6 HRS  COURSE: CONDIMENTS/SIDES  CUISINE: SOUTH INDIAN

Ingredients

  • tomatoes – 2.2 lb. or 1 kg
  • tamarind – 1/2 cup or 1 md orange size ball
  • red chilly powder – 2/3 cup
  • salt – 1/3 cup (adjust)
  • methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) – 1.5 tsp
  • mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
  • sesame or peanut oil – 1 cup
  • garlic pods – few

Preparation

  1. Start off by thoroughly washing and drying the tomatoes. They should be completely dry. Cut them into wedges and place them in a large container.
  2. Add salt, mix well with a spoon. Cover and set aside for at least 15 mins. Mix once to make sure that all of the pieces are evenly coated with salt.
  3. After 15 mins, salt draws out the water from the tomatoes and the mixture will be quite liquidy.
  4. Using dry hands, squeeze out the water from the tomato pieces and arrange them neatly in a big tray or plate.
  5. Now all the liquid from the tomatoes left in the container. Add tamarind to to this liquid.
  6. Place tomato pieces and tomato tamarind liquid in sun (preferably in the afternoon) for at least 6 hours.
  7. This makes the tomato pieces dry by evaporating most of the moisture.
  8. Dry roast 1.5 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds and 1 tbsp mustard seeds till lightly browned.
  9. Transfer them to a blender and grind into a smooth powder. Keep aside.

Making Tomato Pickle

  1. Transfer the dried tomatoes into a blender, add red chilly powder, tamarind liquid. Grind to a smooth paste. Grind it in batches using up all the liquid and tomatoes. (you may use few garlics while grinding for more flavor).
  2. Heat a wide pan with 1 cup of sesame oil, add mustard seeds, jeera, hing(asafotida), red chillies and garlics.
  3. Add ground tomato pickle, and let it cook for 15 mins on med low. Stir frequently.
  4. Add ground fenugreek + mustard seed powder. Mix well. Turn off the heat.
  5. This is the good time to taste and adjust salt.
  6. Let the pickle cool down completely. Transfer this into a clean glass bottles and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tips

  1. You may also use round wine tomatoes.
  2. If the tomatoes are not dry for 1 day in sun, keep them another day to get them dried enough.
  3. Grind few garlics with tomatoes for a nice flavor.
  4. May add chana dal to the tempering along with mustard seeds and jeera.
  5. Instead of taking the bigger bottle every time from the refrigerator, Keep a small portion of tomato pickle in a smaller bottle for regular use.
  6. Use a new spoon every time taking pickle from the bottle.
  7. If the salt is not enough in the pickle, there is a chance to form fungus. So make sure the salt is enough.
  8. Refrigeration helps to retain the color and freshness for long time.
  9. Use either glass bottles or ceramic bowls or containers to store this pickle. Salt and acid in the recipe might corrode metal bowls.
  10. Make sure that everything that touches the pickle is completely dry. If not, the moisture will cause the formation of mold. Keep the bowl away from any water source.
  11. Please omit garlic if you don’t use it.

Step by step photo instructions

Prepping

Start off by thoroughly washing and drying the tomatoes. They should be completely dry. Cut them into wedges and place them in a large container.

  • Dry roast 1.5 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds and 1 tbsp mustard seeds till lightly browned.
  • Grind into smooth powder. Keep aside.

Salting

  • Add salt, mix well with a spoon. Cover and set aside for at least 15 mins. Mix once to make sure that all of the pieces are evenly coated with salt.
  • After 15 mins, salt draws out the water from the tomatoes and the mixture will be quite liquidy.

Sun Dying

Using dry hands, squeeze out the water from the tomato pieces and arrange them neatly in a big tray or plate.

Now all the liquid from the tomatoes left in the container. Add tamarind to to this liquid.

Place tomato pieces and tomato tamarind liquid in sun (preferably in the afternoon) for at least 5-6 hours.

This makes the tomato pieces dry by evaporating most of the moisture.

Making Tomato Pickle

Transfer the dried tomatoes into a blender, add red chilly powder, tamarind liquid. Grind to a smooth paste. Grind it in batches using up all the liquid and tomatoes. (you may use few garlics while grinding for more flavor).

Heat a wide pan with 1 cup of sesame oil, add mustard seeds, jeera, hing(asafotida), red chillies and garlics.

Add ground tomato pickle, and let it cook for 15 mins on med low. Stir frequently.

Add ground fenugreek + mustard seed powder. Mix well. Turn off the heat.

This is the good time to taste and adjust salt.

Let the pickle cool down completely. Transfer this into a clean glass bottles and refrigerate until ready to use.

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