Cranberry Pickle – South Indian Thokku

I am loving the cranberry season, the tart sweet berry totally fits well with my Indian taste palate. Just a few weeks back we were out at Muskoka, basking in the fall colours and all its glory. It was a perfect day for Cranberry harvesting, not to mention wine tasting, totally delicious.

The quaint town of Muskoka was absolutely charming, and I couldn’t get enough of the bright vivid autumn colours.

Obviously we came home with a ton of cranberries, both fresh and dried, and we have been eating it at since then. I tried my hand at making a Cranberry pickle, in South India we call it Thokku.

This spicy and tart pickle, was my mom’s recipe. Typically thokku is made from seasonal vegetables – Totmatos, Red Peppers and my family’s favourite green chillies. The big difference between Thokku and pickle is in its shelf life. Pickle can stay for several months in your refrigerator, but thokku lasts only for about 3-4 weeks, although it can be frozen for months.  This cranberry thokku was just as good as all the other variants I have ever eaten. The tart cranberry was perfect for pickling.

Any Thokku/pickle in my house starts with 3 basic ingredients -dried  red chillies, Fenugreek seeds and Asofetida. The trio is sauteed in oil and powdered. The recipe below makes about 3 tablespoon of the pickle powder, more than you than what you need for the Cranberry pickle, excess can be stored for later use.

To mellow the tartness I also added a dash of Jaggery.

Cranberry Pickle

Makes about half a cup

Cranberry Thokku/Pickle recipe

    • 1 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
    • 2 tablespoon fenugreek or methi seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered asofetida or 1/2 an inch of solid asofetida (also called Hing)
    • 5-6 dried red chillies
    • 1 tablespoon of chilly powder
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • A small piece of jaggery
    • 3 tablespoon oil
    • salt to taste
  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a small skillet. Add the methi seeds, asofetida and dried red chillies and saute for about 3-4 mins till the methis seeds turn golden brown.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool. When cool, grind the mixture to a course powder and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pot, and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to crackle add the cranberries. cook on medium heat till the cranberries fall apart. Add salt, red chilly powder, jaggery and one teaspoon of the freshly ground mixture. Let it cook till the cranberries reduce to a thick paste and release the oil.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the pickle cool. Refrigerate in an air tight container.