Go Back
+ servings
Brass vessel filled with reddish brown Tomato rasam. Pieces of tomato floating on top. A red and white napkin to the left, all of it on a brown wooden background
Print Recipe

Spicy Tomato Rasam from Homemade Rasam Powder

Refereshing Tamil South Indian soup like rasam, made from tamarind extract, homemade spice mix, tomato and mashed lentils. Goes well with rice and as a soup too
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: south indian, tamil, TamilIyer
Keyword: rasam, tomato rasam
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Sujata Shukla


  • 2 tablespoon tamarind lump /size  of a small Indian lemon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder haldi powder
  • ¼ cup towar dal arahar dal/ towaram paruppu/ split pigeon pea lentils
  • ¼ cup tomato slices
  • 1 -2 tablespoons rasam powder click ingredient rasam powder for link to recipe
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder jeera powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida hing
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 ½ cups water for tamarind extract, and for cooking the dal

For tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • ¼ teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • a few curry leaves



  • Soak the tamarind (about the size of a large marble or a small Indian lemon) in 1 cup of water. It is best to roll it into a ball and then soak in water, so that it is easily discarded once all the juice has been extracted. It is not pleasant to bite into a sour piece of tamarind!
    Soak the tamarind for 10 minutes
  • Wash the dal and add the turmeric powder. Pressure cook till the dal is soft, in 1 cup of water. I cook it for 2 whistles and then let the cooker let out steam by itself.
  • Slice the tomato, mince the coriander leaves and curry leaves.

To Make Tomato Rasam

  • Start once the cooker is ready to be opened.
  • Extract the juice of the tamarind by squeezing 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 another ¼ 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 minced curry leaves and salt.
  • Bring the rasam to a boil and then reduce the stove to low flame. Let the rasam simmer for 5 minutes on low heat so that the raw taste of the chili in the rasam powder disappears. By now the aroma would be wafting all around your kitchen!
  • Mash the cooked thowar dal in its own liquid so that the grains combine.
  • Pour the dal into the rasam along with ¼ 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, a sauteed curry and papad.