Rasam is one of the simplest side dishes for rice. The word Rasam is obtained from the Sanskrit word ' Rasa' which means juice. A common South Indian dish that is regularly prepared in most homes, you could say it is the Indian version of soup but spicy! There are so many varieties and versions of rasam - tomato, garlic, ginger, gooseberry, lemon, green gram, drumstick, jeera and the list continues. Amazing how many combinations you can come up with. Rasam spices up any rice meal and is also delicious to sip on - especially when you are having a cold; prepare rasam with more of crushed pepper and drink it piping hot. Provides such relief. Trust me!
Well, I am sure there are many unique (and maybe even better!) ways of preparing tomato rasam but this is how I make it. I like minimal cooking and my way of rasam is literally putting all the ingredients together into a vessel and boiling it. Also I never bother making rasam powder at home, which I am sure will definitely give it a more distinct flavour. But the store bought rasam powders always work for me so I am fine using the same. We like it garlicky and spicy so make sure you adjust the below ingredients to suit your taste. Rasam always tastes better the next day as the flavours come out fully on sitting for couple of hours. But always serve it hot!
Tomato Rasam: Recipe
- Firm, ripe tomatoes - 2 medium diced
- Garlic - 4 to 5 pods crushed
- Shallots - 4 to 5 crushed
- Tamarind - 1 lime sized ball; soaked in 1/4 cup of hot water
- Peppercorns - 1 tsp crushed (adjust accordingly)
- Rasam powder - 1 to 2 tbsp (adjust accordingly)
- Asafoetida - 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Mustard seeds - 3/4 tsp
- Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
- Dry red chillies -3 to 4
- Coriander chopped - for garnish
- Hot water - 3 cups
- Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp
- Extract tamarind juice by squeezing the tamarind with your hand. Discard the fiber and keep the juice aside.
- In a cooking vessel, heat some oil. Add the asafoetida, crushed shallots and the garlic. Saute for few minutes till the raw smell disappears.
- Add the diced tomatoes and saute till they soften. Add salt and crushed peppercorns.
- To this pour water and the tamarind juice. Cover and cook.
- Once it starts to boil, gently press the tomatoes with the back of the ladle to bring out the flavour. Add the rasam powder. Add it gradually and do a taste test to adjust the flavours accordingly.
- Keep it on low flame and let it simmer till the flavours blend well. I usually boil it for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Once it is done, heat some oil in a small pan for the tempering. Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter, add the dry red chillies and curry leaves. Fry for few seconds. Pour this into the rasam. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with steamed rice.
- Note: the above quantity is just for your reference. You can adjust it to suit your taste depending on how sour, garlicky or spicy you like it.
Linking this to Amy's Hot n Spicy Treat and Kerala Kitchen Event - Feb 2012 hosted by Roshan's Cucina