Rasam is a spicy and tangy South Indian soup with chiles, tamarind, and cilantro. This Tomato Rasam is a mouthwatering dish that can be eaten as a soup or served with rice and is easily adapted with other veggies.
I had no idea what to make for dinner today. So I put a big pot of brown rice on the stove and started to think as it cooked. I just love the intricate flavors of Indian cuisine and how addictive the combinations of spices can be. When I was in South India last year, I ate my fare share of dosas, idlis, and sambar, but it was the rasam I had in Kochi that stuck with me; it was sharp, sour, and full-flavored. It’s a quintessential dish of South India that I think you’ll love. You can add cauliflower, beans, lentils, greens, or any veggies you like to rasam, but I kept my tomato version simple and delicious.
This talk of Indian food reminds me: If you’re ever needing food inspirations, head over to Yes I Am Vegan, a food blog featuring yummy Indian specialties, among other goodies. Fellow vegan blogger Charanya shares her tasty (and gluten-free) recipes with simple-to-follow directions. I’m currently drooling over her latest post—Curried Hashbrowns!
I served this Tomato Rasam with brown basmati rice, but you can serve it with any type of rice. If you aren’t an expert rice maker yet, I’ve posted a how-to recipe for Basic White and Brown Rice. Or instead, I think this would be fantastic served with Charanya’s colorful Cabbage Rice.
- 2 teaspoons tamarind paste, soaked in 1 cup of warm water for 5 minutes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot or small onion, chopped or sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
- 1 small dried chile or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or a half of a fresh jalapeño
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2½ teaspoons coriander
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Make the tamarind juice by combining the tamarind paste with 1 cup of warm water and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Then use your hand to squish and squeeze the tamarind to remove as much of the pulp from the pods and seeds. Strain this mixture twice to remove all of the unwanted matter. Let the strained tamarind juice sit undisturbed as you continue with the recipe.
- Into a pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, the sliced onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté for a few minutes, letting the onions and garlic get a little caramelized color. Toss in the dried chile, curry leaves, coriander, cumin, paprika, asafetida, and black pepper and stirfry for 10 seconds. Quickly add 3½ cups of water.
- Now add in the tamarind juice slowly. You want to leave about a tablespoon of the juice behind because there can be some grit that will have settled to the bottom.
- Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar and bring the rasam to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- After ten minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Serve with rice.