Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cherry tomatoes rasam (made in an eeya sombu)

We got back from our most recent India trip a few weeks ago.  This was such a hectic trip that I had almost no time to do any shopping.  I typically buy a few clothes and some kitchen stuff.

One of the things I really wanted to get this time was an eeya sombu. 

Eeya sombus have been getting a bad reputation because many people believe that eeyam is lead.  The eeyam used in the cooking vessel is actually tin.  My mom and grandma used to have several sizes of eeya sombus at home and used to make rasam only in those.  Then as kitchens evolved, they moved away from vengala paanais (brass pots) and eeya sombus to stainless steel and nonstick vessels.  The old, traditional vessels were either given away or lost.

Rasam made in an eeya sombu has a distinct flavor.  I was reminded of this when I had rasam at my friend Vimala’s house.  Vimala is an excellent cook and even if she had not used the traditional vessel, her rasam would have tasted great, but the whole experience took me back to my childhood days, and I really wanted one for my kitchen.

We went to Kumbakkonam for a wedding and my plan was to shop for it there.  But I was so jet lagged and busy with the wedding that did not get a chance.  I ended up buying it in Chennai.  My mom was shocked by the price and was lamenting about the ones she threw away!

Anyway, getting back to my post.  I have planted a few varieties of tomatoes in my garden.  Cherry tomatoes have begun to ripen and I am really excited about this harvest.  Rasam made with homegrown tomatoes tastes so good.  The tomatoes add so much flavor that I don’t need to do much else for a great tasting dish!

Note:  You can make this same rasam in any pot.  Super easy and ready in about 10 - 12 minutes.

Here is what you need:

  • 20 – 25 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • about 4 cups of water
  • 2 – 3 tsp. tamarind pulp/paste
  • 2 tsp. rasam powder (store-bought or home-made)
  • salt to taste
  • few curry leaves
  • ½ tsp. hing
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. jeera


 Here is how I made it:

  1. In a pot, add the tomatoes and about 1½   cups of water.  Mash up the tomatoes with your hand.
  2. Add the green chilies, and curry leaves. 
  3. Add tamarind pulp, salt, and rasam powder.
  4. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let it cook for about 5 - 6 minutes.
  5. Add hing and the rest of the water. Let it simmer for a few more minutes till the bubbles start forming on top.
  6. Turn off the heat.  Add cilantro.
  7. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the ghee.  Once the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds and jeera.  Turn off the heat when the mustard seeds start sputtering.  Remove from heat and pour this over the rasam.

Serve with rice and urilaikizhangu curry (potato curry)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hi
    I am Archish and we had recently started a venture to revive traditional cookware in collaboration with the traditional artisans who have been making it for generations. Do visit our facebook page: and let us know how we could collaborate to take more recipes that can be cooked in the traditional cookware. Thank you.

  3. Wow. I search hard for these old lost tastes your writing is great. I wish I could taste this.

  4. Thanks for the post It is very much helpful for me to understand about tin vessels. Where is the eeyam vessel is available in chennai?

  5. Wow mouthwatering and very tasty looking recipe. I will definitely try this at home. Have you tried Pakistani Cooking Recipes I love all Pakistani Recipes and mostly the appetizers by zarnak sidhwa recipes


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