Iyengar Style Thakkali Thayir Pachadi (Tomato Raita): Step by Step

South Indian cooking is generally seasonal, simple, and devoid of too many spices. Made with minimal ingredients, the food tends to be healthy as well as tasty. Of course South Indian cuisine also has spicy, complex dishes as well – but most everyday dishes from this cuisine are really simple to make, yet so delicious and hearty. This Iyengar Style Thakkali Thayir Pachadi is one of those gems. 🙂

I learnt this recipe from my mother in law. DH absolutely loves this with nei-paruppu saadham (rice mixed with cooked lentils and clarified butter)! We never made this growing up, back at my mother’s place. The first time I had this was at lunch after getting married. I’m a tomato lover, so naturally when MIL made this, I had one mouthful and was floored! You have to make this to believe how lovely it is. When you don’t have any other vegetables in the fridge for a side dish, this can be great. Just paruppu podi saadham, or paruppu-nei saadham, or vathakozhambu saadham, eaten with this pachadi and some appalam/vadaam is heavenly! You can even pair this with pulao / biriyani if you’re bored of the usual onion raita.



  • Tomato – 2 medium size, washed & quartered
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Fresh yoghurt / curd – 1 cup

To Grind

  • Green chillies – 1 or 2
  • Jeera – 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh coconut – 1/4 cup or equivalent broken pieces of fresh coconut


In a mixer grinder, pulse the jeera, green chillies and coconut together into a smooth paste by adding 2 or 3 tbsp water as required. Paste must neither be too coarse nor too smooth. Must be of coconut chutney consistency. Do not add too much water.


  1. Take a kadai and heat oil in it.
  2. Once oil is hot, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter, followed by asafoetida.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the hot oil and saute well
  4. Allow to cook for 2-3 mins until soft, they must be wilted but retain their shape. Do not allow them to get completely mushed.
  5. Add salt to taste, and sugar. Sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes.
  6. Mix well and switch off stove.


  1. Take the ground paste in a wide bowl and add the hot sautéed tomatoes to this.
  2. Mix well and allow to cool (uncovered) for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the yoghurt to this cooled mixture.
  4. Mix well with a ladle. Check for salt and add more at this stage if needed.


Serve with rice or chapati. This is one scrumptious dish, and you will definitely love it 🙂



  1. Use good quality yoghurt that is not sour. If you need to thin down very thick yoghurt, use milk or water.
  2. You could also add fresh chopped coriander or chopped mint to the pachadi. They don’t usually add in my house, so I didn’t.
  3. Alternatively, while grinding, you could add fresh coriander or mint. You will end up with a slightly greenish raita.




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