Tomato Rasam – my go to dish – when I’m cooking in a hurry, or feeling a little low or there’s a cold coming up, or I’ve been on a travel forced diet of roti sabzi dhal, or when I get a foodie call from my tambrahm origins!
The rasam powder is homemade (from my Mom’s recipe). Whenever I made it in my North Indian in-laws kitchen, my sister-in-law Kusum would savour several cups of the hot ‘soup’ ! Spiced with pepper and cumin and rich with juicy tomatoes, serve the tomato rasam with hot rice and ghee and a dry sabzi.
Quantities below are indicative, so please add more of the rasam powder for a spicier tomato rasam. I always add a little extra jeera and pepper powders for their aroma. Curry leaves are good for health, so I mince them and add both while boiling the rasam and in the ghee while tempering. If I don’t mince them and keep them whole, they will invariably be left at the side of the plate, so mincing helps ensure they are actually consumed and all the nutrients are taken in!
Spicy Tomato Rasam
- 1 tamarind - (size of a small lemon)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric - (haldi) powder
- 1/4 cup thowar dhal
- 1 tomato - (large)
- 2 tsp rasam powder - link to recipe given below
- 1/4 tsp cumin - (Jeera) powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper - powder
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida - (Hing)
- a few curry leaves
- a few coriander - (dhania) leaves
- to taste salt
- as required water
- 2 tsps ghee
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- a few curry leaves
- Soak the tamarind (about the size of a large marble or a small lemon) in 1 cup of water. It is best to make it into a ball and then soak in water, so that it is easily discarded once all the juice has been extracted. There are few things more unpleasant than a sour piece of tamarind in the mouth!
- Wash the dhal and add the turmeric powder.Pressure cook till the dhal is soft, in 1 1/2 cups of water. I cook it for 2 whistles.
- Chop the tomato, coriander leaves, curry leaves.
- To make the rasam:
- Start once the cooker is ready to be opened.
- Extract the juice of the tamarind by crushing it in the water in which it is soaked. Strain the tamarind extract into a bowl, checking that there are no pieces of tamarind pulp or seeds, and pour into a pan and heat on the stove.
- Add 1/2 cup of water to the tamarind pulp and squeeze out any remaining juice. Add to the pan on the stove. Discard the used tamarind pulp.
- To the tamarind extract on the stove, add chopped tomatoes, rasam powder, cumin powder, pepper powder, asafoetida powder, a few curry leaves and salt. Curry leaves are very good for health but we generally discard them on the plate while eating. I cut them into small bits so that they are consumed along with the rasam.
- Bring the rasam to a boil and then reduce the stove to low flame. Let the rasam simmer for 5 minutes so that the raw taste of the chilli in the rasam powder disappears.
- By now the aroma would be wafting all around your kitchen!
- Take the cooked thowar dhal and mash it in its own liquid so that the grains combine.
- Pour into the rasam with 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, keeping it boiling for 2 minutes. Simmer on low flame for 3 minutes. Taste for correctness of salt.
- Add the chopped coriander and remove from the stove.
- Keeping the stove on low flame, heat ghee in a small tempering pan, add mustard seeds and let them burst. Add cumin seeds and after 10 secs. switch off the stove, quickly adding the chopped curry leaves. I love the crackle and aroma of fresh curry leaves in hot ghee!
- Pour the ghee tempering on the rasam and keep the pan covered.
- Serve hot with rice and ghee and subzi and papad.
- I will separately post the recipe for the rasam powder as I will be making a fresh batch this week.