Tomato Rasam

Rasam is a traditional South Indian soup or appetizer made with tomatoes and tamarind pulp. Rasam powder is added for enhanced flavor and taste. A small piece of jaggery is also used to balance the sourness of tamarind. No South Indian meal is complete without Rasam. Usually Rasam is prepared without using any lentils. But my Mom sometimes prepare Pappu Charu using tomatoes and tuvar dal (split red gram). There are many versions of rasam and each household having their own unique method. Lemon Rasam,Pepper Rasam and Ulava Charu are some other varieties prepared in South India. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 servings


  1. Tomato: 3 to 4 medium sized (finely chopped/ pureed)
  2. Tamarind: A small lemon sized ball
  3. Turmeric: ¼ teaspoon
  4. Salt: ½ teaspoon (according to taste)
  5. Jaggery or Sugar: ½ teaspoon
  6. Rasam Powder: 1 teaspoon
  7. Curry Leaves:  8 to 10 leaves
  8. Fresh Coriander: few leaves (finely chopped)
  9. Oil:  1 tablespoon (for tempering)
  10. Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Urad Dal: 1 tablespoon (for tempering)
  11. Red chilli: 1 broken(optional)IMG_4594


  1. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of  water for 5 minutes and remove pulp.                                                           IMG_1223
  2. Chop tomatoes to small pieces or prepare puree.(I am using freshly made tomato puree).                               
  3. Take a deep pan. Mix tamarind pulp, tomato pieces/puree,red chilli powder,turmeric and about 11/2 to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil.IMG_4597
  4. Add salt, sugar and Rasam powder to the liquid. 
  5. Add finely chopped fresh coriander leaves and allow to cook for 5 to 7  minutes on slow fire. Adjust the seasoning.(After adding Rasam powder cover the pan with a lid to retain all  flavors). Adjust the seasoning.IMG_4599
  6. Remove from the fire and keep aside.           
  7. For preparing tempering heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds,cumin seeds,urad dal ,broken red chilli and fry.IMG_4601
  8. When mustard seeds starts crackling remove from fire and add curry leaves.IMG_4603
  9. Pour the tempering over Rasam and serve. IMG_4605
  10. Transfer rasam to a serving bowl.IMG_4613
  11. Serve Rasam along with Steamed Rice and Papad.IMG_4608                                            


Rasam Powder is easily available in all Super markets. Rasam powder is prepared by dry roasting whole spices separately and grinding to a fine powder. Rasam Powder can be stored in airtight container for later use. Basic spices used for Rasam powder include coriander seeds, cumin seeds,black pepper, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, dried curry leaves, red chili, urad dal,chana dal, mustard seeds, clove, cinnamon stick etc.


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