Rasam: Basic Recipe

devadmin Indian, Rasam, Soups, South Indian Leave a Comment

Basic Rasam: A Tomato-based soup
The ultimate comfort food of South Indians. It’s a soup with a tamarind and tomato base, light. Perfect on a cold day, when you have a cold, when you’re too tired to make anything else, when you’ve been traveling and eating rich food and just want something comforting and light. Don’t be alarmed by the number of ingredients – if you exclude the prep time to soak the tamarind and cook the toor dhal, rasam is one of the quickest dishes you can make and can be finished in 15 minutes tops. If you cook rice while the rasam is boiling, you’ll have the ultimate comfort food in under 30 minutes.

Print Recipe
RASAM: BASIC RECIPE
Course Rasam, Soup
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 15 Mins
Cook Time 15 Mins
Servings
People
Ingredients
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind chunk To be soaked in warm water for 15 minutes; approximately small lime sized
  • 2 medium Tomatoes juicy, ripe - I love campari tomatoes for this recipe
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 pinch Hing; Aesofetida Available in Indian grocery stores
  • 1 tbsp Rasam powder See recipe under Powders
  • 1 tbsp Salt Add/reduce per taste
  • 1 pinch Turmeric powder Indian grocery store
  • 1/4 cup Cooked pigeon peas Pigeon peas (Toor dhal/tuvaram paruppu) to be pressure cooked and mashed
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil or ghee Use Avocado or light tasting olive oil
  • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 4 or 5 numbers Black pepper corns
Course Rasam, Soup
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 15 Mins
Cook Time 15 Mins
Servings
People
Ingredients
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind chunk To be soaked in warm water for 15 minutes; approximately small lime sized
  • 2 medium Tomatoes juicy, ripe - I love campari tomatoes for this recipe
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 pinch Hing; Aesofetida Available in Indian grocery stores
  • 1 tbsp Rasam powder See recipe under Powders
  • 1 tbsp Salt Add/reduce per taste
  • 1 pinch Turmeric powder Indian grocery store
  • 1/4 cup Cooked pigeon peas Pigeon peas (Toor dhal/tuvaram paruppu) to be pressure cooked and mashed
Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil or ghee Use Avocado or light tasting olive oil
  • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 4 or 5 numbers Black pepper corns
Instructions
Prep
  1. Pressure cook 1/4 cup of toor dhal/pigeon peas with a pinch of turmeric, in 2 cups of water. I typically use 3 measures of water to 1 measure of lentil/dhal. If using a timed pressure cooker, cook for 18 minutes after full pressure is achieved. If using an Indian style pressure cooker, cook for 5 whistles. The dhal can be skipped, but the rasam is more nutritious with the dhal.
  2. Soak a small lime-sized ball of tamarind in warm water. This can be done while the dhal is cooking. After about 30 minutes, extract the juice and strain. Add enough water to make 2 cups of tamarind water.
  3. Chop tomatoes and cilantro finely.
Make the rasam
  1. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, rasam powder, hing and curry leaves to the tamarind extract
  2. Boil for 10 minutes on medium heat, until the raw tamarind smell goes away
  3. Add water to the cooked dhal if using and mash it well to make it the pourable (consistency of milk), and pour over the boiling rasam
  4. Let boil for about 5 minutes, until the rasam starts to froth. Take off the heat.
Season
  1. In the same burner/stove, heat oil/ghee in a small sauce pan
  2. Add mustard seeds and let splutter. You may want to cover the pan to prevent it from splattering all over
  3. Add cumin seeds and crushed pepper corns
  4. Turn off the heat. Pour the seasoning over the rasam
  5. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro
Recipe Notes

Toor dal:

I do this to save time: cook about 1-2 full cups (8 oz of dry) toor dal in about 5 cups of water (toor dal:water 1:3) in a pressure cooker once a week, and use it through the week for making sambar, rasam, kootu, or to just eat plain with rice and ghee. Rasam takes very little toor dal. Traditionally, the dal water that's floating on top of the cooked dal is added to boiling rasam to give it some protein boost. I use a litlte bit more, and take about 1/4 cup of cooked dal, dilute it, and add to the rasam. You can also make it with no dal, if you're in a pinch, but I would recommend adding dal to tone down the tamarind and to add some protein.

Tamarind:

Tamarind is a fruit that is used extensively in South Indian cooking and is considered one of the basic ingredients in a South Indian pantry. It is extremely sour in taste. To use, you would typically soak the required quantity in warm or hot water for about 15 minutes to soften it then use your hands to extract the juice. You would see "lime sized" or gooseberry sized to indicate the quantity. (I sometimes ask my husband to soak it if I'm out so it'll be ready for me. He is culinary-challenged, and I use tennis ball and ping pong ball size to indicate what size/quantity I need).

I have a small colander with a long handle to then strain the juice into the cooking dish directly.

Where to find tamarind:

In Indian and Mexican grocery stores.

Share this Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *