Sunday, July 25, 2010

MIL's Simple Tomato Rasam (Thin Tomato Soup or Pepper water)

No two rasams are the same. Isn't it true that the rasam your mother makes is very different from what your MILs makes? Why? even your mother's could be different from your grandmother's although the methods are pretty much the same. A slight variation in the amount of pepper, tamarind water or even the sourness of the tomatoes all have an effect on the taste of the rasam.

I became pro-rasam from being anti-rasam only after coming here. At a friend's house, her mother had made the most delicious rasam. I pestered her for the recipe and wondered where the deep red color came from. I tried all the ideas she had given me from using canned tomatoes to the quantity of tamarind pulp. Nothing from my trials came close to that taste though.

I already have a recipe which is different from how my MIL makes rasam. Here is my MIL's way of making rasam. This rasam does not have dal water.

Simple Rasam
1. 2 Tomatoes
2. 1 cup of dal water (the water extracted from cooked toor dal)
3. 1 cup of tamarind extract from a small grape tomato (about 3/4 inch in diameter) sized piece of tamarind
4. 1/2 - 1 tbsp cumin,coriander and pepper powder (roughly powder the cumin,coriander and pepper)
5. 3-4 slit red chilies
6. 1 tbsp chopped onions
7. 2-3 garlic cloves pounded
8. seasonings: curry leaves, mustard and asfoetida
9. a few sprigs of coriander leaves
1. In a sauce pan add a cup of water, slice the tomatoes into 2 and add them to the water and let them cook for 3-4 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Let cool.
2. With your hand pulp the cooked tomato, add in the tamarind water, dal water and
pounded garlic cloves. Add in the cumin, pepper powder and coriander powder
3. In a pan heat a tsp of oil, add in the asfoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
4. When the mustard seeds start to pop add the onions and saute till they start to turn pink
5. Add the tomato tamarind water and salt and let it come to a boil. Add the chopped coriander leaves and switch off the heat.

Good as a soup or with rice with some crisps.


  1. Very very good for digestion. I haven't tried rasam with onions. Nice recipe. Thanks.

  2. rasam and rice is a perfect comfort food for me. this one looks delicious.

  3. If I ever get a ripe tomato, I will try this rasam... I forget how good that tastes.

    BTW meant to mention in prior comment, great idea to combine bitter gourd with snake gourd... maybe I would be less intimidated that way! Looked delicious :)

  4. rasam looks very delicious n rich in color...i can feel the taste n the flavor of this rasam by seeing these lovely ingredients u added....i will surely try it soon...bookmarked...thank you dear


  5. Wat a comforting bowl...delicious rasam..

  6. It's raining here and this rasam looks so gud ....

  7. We have always been pro-rasam at home :-)Agree, everybody has different ways of doing this. I will definitely give this a try.

  8. Rasammmmmmm..mmmmm...But Indo, I havent tried rasam with onions yet..will try this!

  9. Mythreyee and Sowjanya you are like my ammayee then, she does not add onions to the rasam.

  10. I like Rasam, maybe this well get cooked this Friday

  11. I have never added onions to my rasam, it looks delicious !

  12. Indo, i think it's very important to specify precisely the size of the tamarind lump and how much water it needs to be processed in, like you have done in this recipe - I just realised why my sambar wasn't up to scratch earlier - I was faithfully follwing the lime sized amount mentioned in most recipes and getting nowhere - I realise I should use a fistful at least!

  13. Sra, true. But the amount of tamarind would depend on the amount of dal used for 2 cups of dal, atleast 2 cups of tamarind extract from a small lime sized piece of tamarind is indeed correct. A fistful might be a bit much but depends on the sourness f the tamarind as well. I like to taste the tamarind in the sambhar but not in my rasam. So the quantities vary accordingly.

  14. Indo, that color could have very well come from the rasam powder.. some chillies like bedagi from karnataka and kashmiri chillies give a beautiful color to the rasam.

    Yeah, a anti-rasam person became a pro-rasam person here too. I remember my kiddo brother once telling my mom in a hush hush voice - Oh, why did you make rasam...akka is going to be super mad when she comes to know of this. :) I used to think rasam is one of the most un-nutritious stuff ever... How far I've come from there.

  15. Kay, it could very well have. For a rasam novice like me it wasn't very obvious.

    You know what they just opened a community gardens in my town. I am going to get in line for that. Sad that I did not know earlier. Now only waitlist.

  16. Awwww!!! Sorry to hear that you are on waiting list. Hopefully you'll get one soon.


Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate you taking the time.
Comments embedded with links, spam and in poor taste will not be published.