Like a warming, comforting cup of spicy deliciousness, rasam is such special dish. It is no wonder it is a daily item in many Tamil households.
One of the most common rasams is tomato rasam. Full of spice, tangy from tamarind, and made with home grown organic tomatoes, it is not only delicious but healthy also.
We like to make rasams with the top water from cooking lentils – it adds flavour, uses the water that is usually drained off, and if some of the soft lentils actually get into the rasam, it just adds more flavour and a little texture.
I often keep home made tomato pulp and tomato juice in the freezer – even frozen whole tomatoes. These are perfect for making rasam.
Spicy Tomato Rasam
Cuisine: Sth Indian
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-6 depending how you use it
4 large ripe healthy tomatoes
4 cups of top water of boiled dal (lentils) or water
2 whole red chillies, or to taste
1 stalk curry leaves
1 tiny sprig mint leaves
1tiny sprig coriander leaves (optional)
1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
0.5 stick cinnamon
8 – 10 black peppercorns
1.5 tspn cumin seeds
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
2 pinches asafoetida
1 marble sized ball of jaggery (palm sugar) or 1 tspn brown sugar
1 small strip tamarind
1 Tblspn ghee or oil
0.5 Tblspn sambar or rasam spice mix (available from your Indian shop or make your own)
(Celtic) sea salt to taste
Heat 0.5 tspn of ghee in a small pan and add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and 1 tspn cumin seeds. Roast until aromatic. Place in your mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.
Heat another 1 tspn ghee in the pan and add the whole chillies and curry leaves. Roast a little and put aside.
Chop the tomatoes into fine cubes.
Into a deep saucepan, place the tomatoes, the chillies and curry leaves, roasted spice powder, jaggery, and rasam or sambar spice mix. Mix it well and mash it together. Use a hand blender to obtain a pulp.
Strain the tamarind into the saucepan. Mash the solids in the strainer to use as much as the pulp as you can. Discard the remainder.
Add the dal water to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
Heat the remaining ghee in a small pan, add the mustard seeds, the remaining cumin and asafoetida, and allow the seeds to pop and splutter. Add the garlic and stir for a moment, and then transfer to the rasam.
Add salt to taste and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
Serve with rice, or serve in a heat proof glass, topped with mint or coriander leaves.
Can be used as a pre-dinner small appetising drink and spice hit
Can be served over rice