Manjal Thokku| Turmeric Root Pickle

Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle is one of my most favourite things to make using turmeric. All of us at home love it, and it goes well with everything, from rotis and dosas to curd rice.

Turmeric, as we all know, is loaded with health benefits. It helps not just in keeping cold and cough at bay, but also increases the body’s ability to fight chronic diseases, improves digestive functions, improves skin health, and aids in better control of one’s blood sugar, for instance. Our ancestors have always revered turmeric for its medicinal properties, and now its healing properties are being recognised the world over, due to which it is being touted as a ‘super food’.

The turmeric root that we got home for Pongal, this year

Turmeric powder is the most common form in which this medicinal plant is used. However, turmeric root or fresh raw turmeric is available in India in the months of winter, nature’s way of helping us combat the major and minor illnesses that prevail at this time. Consuming turmeric root is a great way of getting in all those health benefits, without any of the processing that converting it into powder form might involve. I typically use turmeric root (manjal kizhangu in Tamil) to make a simple South Indian-style pickle, but I recently started making a sweet-sour-spicy thokku with it. It turned out so finger-licking delicious, everyone at home loving it so, that it has now become a regular. I have made it quite a few times this winter already.

Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle, my way

Here’s how I made the Manjal Thokku or Turmeric Root Pickle.

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup):

  1. About 1 cup roughly chopped raw turmeric
  2. A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 large onion
  6. 4-5 dry red chillies or as per taste
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder
  10. 1 sprig curry leaves
  11. 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons of oil
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  13. A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  14. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida


1. Remove seeds and impurities, if any, from the tamarind. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for at least 10 minutes. This will soften it. Keep aside.

2. Peel the ginger and chop it roughly. Keep aside.

3. Peel the garlic cloves. Keep aside.

4. Remove the skin of the onion. Chop into cubes. Keep aside.

5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion, along with the dried red chillies. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate, and allow them to cool down fully.

6. When the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Add in the soaked tamarind along with the little water it was soaked in. Add in jaggery powder, salt to taste and turmeric powder. Grind to a paste, using a little more water if required.

7. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan we used earlier. Add mustard seeds, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn.

8. Turn the flame to medium. Now, add the turmeric paste we ground earlier. Mix the paste and the tempering well, and cook together on medium flame for about a minute. Your Turmeric Root Pickle or Manjal Thokku is ready!


1. Use very fresh turmeric root when in season, for best results.

2. Turmeric roots tend to have a lot of mud on them, typically. Make sure you wash them thoroughly, and get off all the mud.

3. Gingelly oil works best in the making of this Manjal Thokku. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other oil of your preference.

4. Allow the Turmeric Root Pickle to cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight container. Use only a clean, dry spoon for the same.

5. When stored hygienically, the Turmeric Root Pickle stays well for up to a week. Refrigeration increases its shelf life even more.

6. Adjust the quantity of dry red chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the pickle to be.

7. Turmeric root tends to stain yellow everything that it touches, including your hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces. Please be prepared for the same. Wear disposable gloves while preparing this pickle, if you so wish.

8. Turmeric root, on its own, can be quite strong in taste. Hence, it is advisable to use ingredients like tamarind, onion, ginger and garlic to make this thokku, as they help mellow down the turmeric’s strong flavour.

*************Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, a bunch of foodies get together and cook for a pre-determined theme. The theme this week is #IndianSuperfood, as suggested by Vidya Narayan of Masala Chilli. We are all sharing recipes made using three key superfoods – moringa, makhana aka foxnuts and turmeric – for the theme.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #263.

34 thoughts on “Manjal Thokku| Turmeric Root Pickle

    1. @sizzlingtastebuds

      Ha ha. I was just about to post something with moringa too, then decided on this at the very last minute.

      All of us at home loved this Manjal Thokku. I’m sure you will too. Please do try this out some time.

      Lucky you to have turmeric plants at home!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We make a similar haldi ki chutney but do not add tamarind in it.. The chutney looks a good option with some paranthas or even with khichdi!! The recipe sounds so flavourful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do make turmeric pickle but it is different from your version. With tamarind, jaggery and red chilies going in , I can imagine the flavours of this pickle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Manjal Thokku is so good for health and good use of the fresh stock post Pongal. I usually grind it and add it all my meal preparations at home. So much flavour and the colour especially. Also the turmeric staining part is so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Manjal thokku is a must try if I manage to get some manjal. I have had zero success growing it here. Mom loved your recip and said it was a super sucess,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish all medicine could be had in as tasty a dish as your manjal thokku, instead of the tablets and capsules one has to swallow! So many flavours coming together must make the thokku just perfect with hot rice and ghee.

    Liked by 1 person

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