Spicy Tomato Rasam (Indian soup) the fresh way

asafoetida black pepper chilli cumin mustard recipes turmeric

Rasam is one of the most popular Indian “soups” across the entire Indian subcontinent. This recipe uses fresh spices for an authentic home style taste – no tamarind paste or pre-made rasam powder is used in this recipe. As a result, it’s light, tangy, spicy, minimal fat and sugars so it’s even quite healthy! Tomato rasam goes best with South Indian dishes such as hot Idli and Vadas, but you can also drink it plain as a soup with some warm bread.

spicy tomato rasam indian recipe

Recipe: Spicy Tomato Rasam (Indian Soup)

Serves: 4

7 medium sized tomatoes, blanched
300-500ml water based on your preference, we usually add around 400ml. More water will give you a lighter soup.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
10 black peppercorns
1 inch piece of ginger (about 10g)
6 cloves of garlic
small handful of coriander leaves (stems only work best), about 10 grams.
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal (optional, but well worth it if you can find it!)
1 gram dried curry leaves
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida powder
kashmiri chillies, chopped into large pieces
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt to taste

Cooking method

1. Take cumin seeds, black peppers, ginger, garlic, coriander stems. Using a pestle and mortar, turn them into a course paste. Keep aside for use in step 6.

2. Remove the skin from the tomatoes, then chop up and blend them to get a smooth puree. 

3. In a large deep pan, heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the black mustard seeds and wait for them to start crackling, about 10-20 seconds.

4. Add the urad dal and wait for it to turn light brown, about 1-2 minutes.

5. Now add the curry leaves, kashmiri chillies, asafoetida and turmeric. Fry for a minute until fragrant.

6. Add the course paste you made earlier, and fry for a further 1-2 minutes.

7. Add the tomato puree and mix well.

8. Now add the water, salt and bring the rasam to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and cook for 20 minutes.

9. Serve boiling hot! 

Note: Our Rasam recipe is to our household’s taste: quite spicy. To reduce the heat while keeping the flavour authentic, reduce the amount of pepper used. Some communities in India also prefer to add a few large chunks of vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. You can add these in the final stage of cooking and cook for 30-35 minutes.


photo: Divya Kudua

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