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Jan 2, 2014

Onion Pickle / Ulli Thokku / Ulli Pickle / Shallots Pickle / Pickled Onions / How to Make Pickles Without Preservatives

I love making homemade pickles and thokku..They pair beautifully well with curd rice or homemade phulkas..  I love making tomato thokku, because i love having it with curd rice..I always have a jar of it in my fridge..I have never made onion thokku before and also never thought of making it..

But couple weeks back, my perimma told me about this pickle. But in her recipe, the onion is pureed completely and made into a simple thokku. I took that recipe and modified to my taste and created this. And i should tell you, it taste amazing..Yummy indeed..Hope you will try this and let me know how it turns out..

Preparation Time : 30 mins
Cooking Time : 35 to 40 mins
Makes - 500 grams


Sambar Onion / Shallots / Chinna Ulli - 500 grams peeled
Oil - 1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder / Manjal Podi - 2 tsp
Chilli Powder - 2 tblspn or to taste
Salt to taste
Tamarind Pulp - 1/4 cup / A small lemon size
Jaggery / Sarkarai - 3 to 4 tblspn

For Pickle Powder:
Mustard Seeds / Kaduku - 1 tblspn
Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam - 1 tblspn
Fenugreek Seeds / Vendayam - 1 tsp

For Tempering:
Mustard Seeds / Kaduku - 1 tsp
Urad dal / Ulundu Paruppu -1 tsp
Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli - 2 broken
Asafoetida / Hing / Kaya Podi - 1/2 tsp


In a dry pan add the pickle spices and roast them till light golden and toasted. Remove them to a plate and let it cool. Add them to blender and make into a fine powder. Set aside till use. Keep the blender ready, because you want it to grind the onions.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom kadai. Add in the peeled shallots and fry them for 3 to 4 mins till it is light golden and transparent.Drain them to a bowl.

Now take half of the shallot mix in the blender and make it to a coarse mix. Set aside till use.

Now heat the same oil again. Add the seasoning ingredients and fry them for a min.

Add the pureed onion mix, the remaining whole fried shallots and cook them for 5 to 6 mins.

Add in turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and mix well.

Add in the pickle powder, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Mix them well so everything is melted and combined.

Cook them on a low heat for 10 to 15 mins till oil separates from the mix.

Switch off the heat and let it cool down.

Now store it in air tight container. Use clean spoons when you serve.

1)Cool it completely then store it in a sterlized air tight container.
2)Use clean spoon while serving.
3)You can store this in room temparature for 3 to 4 days.
4) If you are too scared you could store it in fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.


Take all your ingredients

Peel shallots

Dry roast mustard, cumin and fenugreek

Roast till lovely aroma comes from it

Allow it to cool down

Take it in a blender

Make it into a fine powder

Heat oil

Add shallots

Fry them a little

Remove them to a bowl

Add half of the onions in the same blender

crush them little

Now heat the onion fried oil again

Add in seasoning ingredients

Let them fry

Add in crushed onion

Saute them for a while

Add the whole fried onions now

Cook them together for a while

Add in turmeric powder

Chilli powder


Mix that well

Add the roasted pickling spice powder

Add in tamarind pulp


mix well and simmer

cook on low flame till oil separates

Allow to cool down and store in air tight container

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  1. Thanks..it looks yummy!
    how much tamarind?

  2. This looks utterly delicious .
    Thanks for sharing this unique recipe with us !

  3. Hi Aarthi, can I make this pickle without any oil or less oil as I am trying to avoid very oily food.

  4. Thank u so much aarthi for this recipe...this is what i was looking for long....wish u a very happy new year.

  5. @anjali Yes u can reduce the oil quantity, but it wont stay longer. You have to keep it in fridge and use it within 3 to 5 days

  6. Hi Aarthi,
    I tried this recipe yesterday and it came out yummy. My son even ditched his favourite sabji to eat this with chapathis and like you said it goes very well with curd rice too. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe.

  7. Love th9s pickle. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Mouth watering recipe Aarthi!

  9. Looks yummy,can I do garlic pickle with the same recipe replacing the onion with garlic

  10. Hi aarthi, can I make it using normal onions, if yes, kindly tell any modifications I need to do in the receipe

  11. How long can this be stored if refrigerated?? Can I use sugar instead of jaggery?

    1. You can use normal onions as well. You can store it for a 15 to 20 days in fridge


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