Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tomato Rasam (without Toor Dal)

In our house, we call this Poorni’s rasam.  Poorni and Subbu were the first Indian couple we met in Colorado after we got married.  They have moved to Illinois now, but we still keep in touch.

When our kids were very young, we planned a vacation together and decided to meet in Orlando, Florida.  They flew in from Chicago and we went from Denver. We stayed in a hotel with a kitchenette, because we were staying in Florida for a week, and the prospect of eating out three times a day for the whole week did not appeal to us.

I had packed some spices and quick-fix meals that we could make with the limited facilities available in the kitchen at the hotel.  Subbu, the most enthusiastic cook in the group, had packed everything to make full-fledged meals, including his pressure cooker and idli plates!  We would come back from a long day of waiting in lines at the theme parks to a freshly cooked gourmet meal. I am sure that our rooms retained the tantalizing smells of our cooking endeavors long after we checked out.

Tomato Rasam

Poorni made this rasam for us one evening.  It was so simple to make and tasted great!  The kids had rasam sadam (rice) with potato curry and kept asking for seconds and thirds!  Here is her recipe.

Here is what you need:


  • 2 roma or 1 regular tomato, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • about 4 cups of water
  • 2 tsp. tamarind pulp/paste
  • 2 tsp. rasam powder (store-bought)
  • salt to taste
  • few curry leaves
  • ½ tsp. hing
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. jeera
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

Here is how I made it:


  1. In a pot, add the tomatoes and about 1 cup of water.  Mash up the tomatoes with your hand.
  2. Add the crushed garlic, green chilies, curry leaves, and ginger.  Add the rest of the water.
  3. Add tamarind pulp, salt, and rasam powder.
  4. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add hing and cilantro.  Let it simmer for a couple of more minutes
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the ghee.  Once the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds and jeera.  When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the whole pepper. The pepper tends to burst, so be careful.  Remove from heat and pour this over the rasam.

Serve hot with rice and vegetable of your choice.

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