Tomato Rasam

Tomato Rasam

0
(0)

Tomato Rasam (Thakkaali Rasam in Tamil, Chaaru in Telugu, Saaru in Kannada) is the tomato soup of south India – and is so popular that many people consider it the ‘unofficial national soup of India’. It has even spawned recipes such as Mulligatawny that are known in the Western world. It can be served as an appetizing welcome drink or the way most South Indians do – mix it with hot rice, cooked dal, and ghee. It is one of the simplest dishes that is taught to young chefs by mothers as it involves very little knife work and is one of the few foods that is loved by every age group – it’s one of the first foods introduced to babies as well. If you’re too lazy to make an elaborate meal or if you’re a college student burdened with homework, tomato rasam is usually your go-to dish. Let’s dive in…but first

What is Rasam?

Rasam is a hot and sour clear soup made with tamarind extract, tomatoes, lentils and spices. It is the quintessential representative of the taste of South Indian cuisine (Rasam = ‘essence’ in Sanskrit).  A typical south Indian vegetarian lunch is a five course meal served on a banana leaf and rasam mixed with rice falls squarely in the middle. There are over 50 variations of rasam – popular among these are Milagu-Jeera (Pepper-Cumin), Lemon Rasam, Poondu (Garlic) Rasam, Goddu Rasam (No-Dal), Mysore Rasam (coconut spice blend). The ingredients used in Rasam are very beneficial in healing the body of common ailments – most notably common cold, cough and fevers. It is therefore aptly called a functional food. Click here to know more

WHAT YOU WILL NEED for TOMATO RASAM

Ingredients

Note: 1 cup = 235 ml

  1. 1 gooseberry sized ball of tamarind pulp or 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
  2. 2 cups diced tomatoes
  3. ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  4. ¼ tsp. cumin powder
  5. ⅛ tsp. black pepper, crushed
  6. 1 Tbsp. sambar masala powder or rasam masala powder
  7. ½ cup toor dal, cooked
  8. Salt to taste (1 ¾ tsp. salt)
  9. 4 ½ cups water
  10. 2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped

If you are using rasam masala powder, skip the cumin powder and pepper powder from the ingredient list

For tempering

  1. 1 Tbsp. ghee
  2. ¾ tsp. mustard seeds
  3. 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  4. ⅛ tsp. asafoetida
  5. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves or 1 tbsp. dried curry leaves, crushed by hand
Ingredients for Tomato Rasam

Kitchen tools

  1. Small bowl
  2. Colander (optional)
  3. Pressure cooker (2-3 liter capacity) / Instant pot (3 liter capacity)
  4. Tempering pan

PREPARATION – TOMATO RASAM (with step-by-step photos)

Step 1  – Pour 2 cups water into a bowl, add 1 tbsp. tamarind, and soak for about 15 minutes. If you are short of time, heat the soaked mixture in the microwave for 1 minute. If using tamarind paste, dissolve 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste in 2 cups water and continue

Soak tamarind for Tomato Rasam

Step 2  – Extract tamarind juice by squeezing it with your hands and strain it using a colander or your hands. Pour this tamarind water into the instant pot or pressure cooker


Step 3  – Add ½ cup cooked toor dal, 2 cups diced tomatoes, ¼ tsp. turmeric powder, ¼ tsp. cumin powder, ⅛ tsp. crushed black pepper, 1 tbsp. sambar powder, and salt to taste (1 ¾ tsp. salt)

Step 4  – Set the instant pot on manual high mode for 6 minutes with the valve in sealing position. If using a pressure cooker, set it on medium heat and cook for 3 whistles

Step 5  – Quick release instant pot when it indicates LO:05 . If using a pressure cooker allow it to release pressure naturally and open the lid. Add the remaining 2 ½ cups water, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves, bring to a frothy boil and turn off the heat

Step 6  – Place the tempering pan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. ghee. When the ghee is hot, add ¾ tsp. mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Add 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ⅛ tsp. asafoetida, and a sprig of curry leaves roughly chopped. Turn off the heat and add this tempering to the rasam

I keep dried curry leaves handy to add to rasam similar to kasuri methi. This method enhances the flavor of the rasam and other vegetables. Also, this way my kids cannot pick out the curry leaves and throw them away

Step 7  – Enjoy this sublime tomato rasam 😋

Tomato Rasam

My mom taught me to make tomato rasam when I was barely ten years old. Her main tip was that for the perfect infusion of spices, one needs to cook the tamarind extract with all the spices and tomatoes to the point where the liquid should reduce to a specific level and the tomatoes cooked just right. We had a unique vessel called eeya (tin) chombu (pot) that was used exclusively for making Rasam. In this open pot method I had to constantly keep an eye on it as the reduction of liquid varied based on cook time and would change the taste of the final dish. Also, I could not forget the fact that eeya chombu needed special attention. Why? Well, ‘tin’ has a low melting point which meant the cooking temperature had to be set low to prevent melting the pot itself when exposed to direct high heat. This slow cooking method helped the flavors infuse into the tamarind stock giving Rasam its distinctive flavorful taste and aroma. Mom still has the pot which is now several decades old and it still has a lingering fragrance of rasam. Modern kitchens have moved on to stainless steel vessels but rasam made in ‘eeya chombu’ still tastes sublime. After several attempts to perfect it, I hit the right note when I made it in a pressure cooker. My MIL used to cook everything in pressure cookers and I felt why not give rasam a shot. When you add all the water, my Hawkins pressure cooker would spit it all out and the rasam would lose all flavor. So I went back to the traditional method of just pressure cooking with tamarind extract and later adjusting the consistency to our liking with additonal water. Do give this pressure cooking method a go and you will never miss the eeya chombu / mom’s and grandma’s version ever!!!

Related Recipes

Sambar Powder

Onion Sambar


Tomato Rasam

Recipe by Sublime RecipesCourse: Main CourseCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep Time

15

minutes
Cook Time

40

minutes
Ready In

55

minutes

Note: 1 cup = 235 ml

What You Will Need

  • 1 gooseberry sized ball of tamarind pulp or 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes

  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder

  • ¼ tsp. cumin powder

  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper, crushed

  • 1 Tbsp. sambar masala powder or rasam masala powder

  • ½ cup toor dal, cooked

  • Salt to taste (1 ¾ tsp. salt)

  • 4 ½ cups water

  • 2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped

    If you are using rasam masala powder, skip the cumin powder and pepper powder from the ingredient list

  • For Tempering
  • 1 Tbsp. ghee

  • ¾ tsp. mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • ⅛ tsp. asafoetida

  • 1 sprig fresh curry leaves or 1 tbsp. dried curry leaves, crushed by hand

Preparation

  • Pour 2 cups water into a bowl, add 1 tbsp. tamarind, and soak for about 15 minutes. If you are short of time, heat the soaked mixture in the microwave for 1 minute. If using tamarind paste, dissolve 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste in 2 cups water and continue
  • Extract tamarind juice by squeezing it with your hands and strain it using a colander or your hands. Pour this tamarind water into the instant pot or pressure cooker
  • Add ½ cup cooked toor dal, 2 cups diced tomatoes, ¼ tsp. turmeric powder, ¼ tsp. cumin powder, ⅛ tsp. crushed black pepper, 1 tbsp. sambar powder, and salt to taste (1 ¾ tsp. salt)
  • Set the instant pot on manual high mode for 6 minutes with the valve in sealing position. If using a pressure cooker, set it on medium heat and cook for 3 whistles
  • Quick release instant pot when it indicates LO:05 . If using a pressure cooker allow it to release pressure naturally and open the lid. Add the remaining 2 ½ cups water, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves, bring to a frothy boil and turn off the heat
  • Place the tempering pan on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. ghee. When the ghee is hot, add ¾ tsp. mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Add 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ⅛ tsp. asafoetida, and a sprig of curry leaves roughly chopped. Turn off the heat and add this tempering to the rasam

    I keep dried curry leaves handy to add to rasam similar to kasuri methi. This method enhances the flavor of the rasam and other vegetables. Also, this way my kids cannot pick out the curry leaves and throw them away
  • Enjoy this sublime tomato rasam 😋

Related Recipes


Thank you for stopping by. If you’ve tried this recipe, I would love to hear from you. Please add your comments below and / or rate this recipe. Your feedback will help me improve and share better recipes with you.

How would you rate this recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

Be the first to rate this post!

Thanks for your positive feedback on this recipe!

Looks like this recipe can be made better...

Tell us how we can improve this recipe further.

2 Comments

  1. My favorite Rasam Recipe ever!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.