Thakkali Kurma or Tomato Kurma

Thakkali or Tomato Kurma is an easy side dish that can be made in a jiffy for Idlis, Dosas or Appams. I adore this Kurma for its simplicity and taste. With ingredients like tomatoes, onion and coconut, you can create this delicious side dish for your South Indian breakfast in few minutes. Do try this tasty Thakkali Kurma if you want a colorful change from the usual Chutney.

Thakkali Kurma

This is a recipe that I learnt from my mom. She makes this as an accompaniment for Idlis and Appams. This Kurma is so flavorful and appealing that whenever she makes it as a side dish for Appams or Idlis, I tend to overeat. As a kid, I used to carry this aromatic Kurma along with Dosas for lunch to school. I used to love that combo a lot then.



Tomato – 2 big sized
Onion – 1 big sized
Green chilly – 2
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp to 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as needed

To temper
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – ½”
Cloves – 2
Ginger – 1” piece
Garlic – 8 cloves
Saunf or fennel seeds or sombu – 1 tsp
Curry leaves few

To grind
Coconut – ¼ cup grated
Pottukadalai or Butana dal or Chutney dal – 1 ½ tbsps (Optional)


Prep time – 10 mins
Cook time – 10 mins
Total time – 20 mins
Serves 4 people

  1. Finely chop onion and tomatoes. Slit the green chillies. Crush ginger, garlic and fennel seeds coarsely using a small mixer jar or a mortar and pestle. Grind the ingredients listed under ‘To grind’ to a fine paste by adding enough water. Set everything aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the cinnamon, cloves and crushed ginger-garlic-fennel and curry leaves to the oil and sauté for half a minute.
  3. Add the finely chopped onions and slit chillies. Sauté the onions till translucent.
  4. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and sauté till it turns mushy.
  5. Add chilli and turmeric powders and salt to taste. Mix well and fry for about a minute.
  6. Add about ¾ cup of water and cook for 2-3 mins.
  7. Now, add the ground coconut paste. If required, add more water to get the desired kurma consistency. Cook further for another 2-3 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves and remove from the pan from heat. Thakkali or Tomato Kurma is ready.

Serve this delicious kurma hot with Idli, Dosa, Appam, Chapathi or Poori.


  1. Depending on the tanginess of the tomatoes, you can adjust the spice levels. Also, you can use green chillies and chilli powder in combination or skip one and use the other. If using only green chillies for the spiciness, Kurma may be lighter in color.
  2. Using pottukadalai is optional. My mom adds it to reduce the intake of coconut. Also, adding pottukadalai gives thickness to the Kurma. I skipped pottukadalai and used only coconut.
  3. You can add a pinch of salt to the tomatoes to aid faster cooking. Also, you can use Kashmiri chilli powder for a bright red colored Kurma.
  4. If you do not like using whole spices, you can add ¼ tsp of garam masala powder. Though the taste may vary slightly.
  5. Adjust the water to get the desired Kurma consistency. Once water is added, let the Kurma boil well.