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Friday, 28 June 2019

Tomato Rasam

Tomato rasam is an aromatic, tangy and spicy South Indian dish. It is basically a thin soup prepared with fresh ripe tomatoes, spices and herbs. Tomato rasam aids in digestion and can be had as a soup or as a side dish with rice. There are many variations to make this tomato rasam but this is one of the easiest and simplest recipes which does not call for use of tamarind, rasam powder or cooked dal (lentil). Fresh coriander, ground spices like black pepper and cumin seeds and the rich ghee tempering adds to the flavor of this tomato rasam.

This tomato rasam is tangy and spicy in taste and is aromatic due to the spices and herbs used. Fresh coriander with leaves and tender stems is ground along with garlic, cumin seeds and black pepper are added to this rasam. Also here instead of adding chopped tomatoes, a puree of tomatoes is added which gives a smooth texture to the rasam. This is ideal for people like me who do not like the tomato skin in the rasam. It hardly takes 15 minutes to make this flavorful tomato rasam from scratch.

I tasted rasam for the first time, 11 years back during our stay in Hyderabad. My office colleagues used to bring rasam daily in their lunch box. gradually I developed a liking towards this tangy soup and learned to make garlic, black pepper, and tomato rasam. My husband and son are not fond of tangy food and there are no takers for rasam in my family, but I do treat myself with a bowl of hot piping rasam whenever I have a sore throat and mostly during cold winter and monsoon nights. I do add cooked pigeon pea (arahar dal ) in my rasam many times though.

Rasam is a classic South Indian soup and comfort food for sure. As it is a staple food in South India, rasam powder ( a blend of roasted spice mix) is kept handy and used in making a variety of rasam. Freshly roasted and ground spices definitely add to the aroma and flavor of rasam. This recipe is very simple and most of the flavor comes from the ground cumin seeds and black peppercorn. So without any further ado, let's get started with the recipe of tomato rasam.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for Tomato Rasam:
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves / lasan
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 1 teaspoon skinned and split black gram/urad dal
  • 3-4 black peppercorn/kali mirch
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds /rai
  • 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/methi dana
  • Pinch of Asafoetida / Hing
  • 2 dry red chilies, broken and seeds discarded / lal mirch
  • 1 small bunch of coriander leaves with tender stems/ dhaniya
  • 1 sprig curry leaves/kadi patta
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • Salt to taste
  1. To begin with making tomato rasam, in a grinder jar take coriander leaves and stems, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, black peppercorn and garlic. Grind it to a coarse paste without adding water. keep aside. In the same grinder jar add chopped tomatoes and make a fine puree.

2. Now heat a saucepan or wok and add ghee to it. Next, add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add cumin seeds followed by fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and black gram. Fry the spices for few seconds. Next, add broken red chilies and fry for another 30 seconds on low flame.

3. To this add the ground coriander garlic paste and saute until the raw smell of garlic is gone. Now add asafoetida and turmeric powder and saute for few seconds.

4. Next, add the tomato puree and stir well. To this add up to 1 cup water as per the desired thickness of the rasam. Add salt and allow the rasam to boil. Now simmer for another 5-7 minutes and then put off the flame.

5. Garnish the tomato rasam with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve piping hot. One can have this delicious rasam as a soup on its own or serve it with rice. I have served it with steamed rice topped with ghee and Beetroot Thoran for a soulful meal.

  Recipe Notes:
  • Recipe Source
  • I have pureed the tomatoes as we do not like the tomato skin in our rasam. You may add chopped tomatoes if you prefer.
  • I have not added ginger in this rasam. The original recipe has. You may grind 1/2 inch ginger along with garlic and coriander if using.
  • To make a vegan rasam, replace ghee with Sesame seed oil or peanut oil.
  • For a gluten-free version skip adding asafoetida.
Taking this tomato rasam recipe to the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group of which i am a member. Here we post recipes every fortnight depending on the pre-decided theme. The theme for this fortnight is #FlavorfulRasam. Monsoon has arrived in many parts of India and nothing can be as comforting as sipping a piping hot rasam on a cold rainy day. Here are some more flavorful rasam recipes for you to check out from fellow bloggers.


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  1. We love tomato rasam , and I too like to make it with pureed tomatoes without daal. I do add tamarind to it for extra tangy taste. Loved your version too and pics are so inviting..

  2. These images are so inviting Poonam. Love the floating curry leaves and the minute details in the pics here.

  3. The tomato rasam looks absolutely delicious! I do make tomato rasam some time. Not regular though. Love the way you have used the coarsely ground spices in this. I am sure it would be very flavorful and yummy :)


    1. Coarsely ground spices give a lovely flavour and aroma to the rasam. Thanks Geetanjali.