We LOVE soups ! In fact the kids ask for soups even when the weather is a 110 degree Fahrenheit ! There are a few soups that make a regular appearance in our home and I enjoy trying new ones every soup season. It is a hit or miss, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Another regular at home is a soup like item very popular in the Tamil cuisine known as Rasam.
A rasam is like a broth based thin soup that gets its tanginess from tamarind extract, tomatoes, lime, lemons, kokum (a fruit from the mangosteen family that is quite acidic and mildly sweet..something like a cranberry). Some rasam recipes use coconut milk, some are made using cooked split lentils…the variety is vast and the recipes very regional. But every single one of them is lip smacking delicious and adds so much medicinal value to one’s diet.
Just like broth…watery..thinned out but extremely flavorful soups, the rasam is something one tends to enjoy when under the weather. The ingredients in most of these rasams are simple yet bring a more holistic perspective to this dish. As in many established ancient cuisines, food is medicine. Rasam is the epitome of such medicinal food. Soup or Rasam, it is most definitely comfort in a bowl. In Southern india, we enjoy it year round and on every occasion. There is a special rasam recipe for pretty much any event in our culture! Amazes me…a humble item that is included in an extravagant feast!
The key to making a good rasam is to cook it low and slow…..it is most definitely not something we let boil. It has to be simmered on the stove so that flavors can come together beautifully. It is not a hard and fast rule in today’s time but if you are old school and like the concept of slow cooking, then I must encourage you to cook this low and slow !
If you have the time, toast the dry ingredients listed below and then powder. But if you are short on tie, grind it with the tomatoes and simmer, still turns out yum! I do either or based on how much time I have on hand.
I have used cherry tomatoes here, but feel free to use any kind you have on hand.
Recipe : Cherry Tomato Rasam
- Cherry Tomatoes – about 15
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Toor Dal – 1 teaspoon – optional
- Peppercorns – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Coriander seeds -1 teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 8 to 10
- Kashmiri / Byadagi Chili – 2 or 3 (more for color than heat, so use a mild or spicy chili according to your taste)
- Salt to taste
- Black mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Crushed Black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
- Ghee or oil as needed
- Hing – 1/8 teaspoon
- Water as needed
How to :
First, puree the raw tomatoes into a fine, smooth paste. Dilute it with 2 cups of water. This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts of Rasam.
Add this puree to a saucepan that can hold at least 2 quarts of liquid. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder to it.
Turn on the stove on medium low, cover and the tomato puree cook for at least 5 minutes. You will notice the change in color…from pale red to a thick dark red.
In a spice grinder grind the toor dal, dry red chili, coriander seeds, cumin,peppercorns, 4 or 5 curry leaves. Make as fine a powder as you can.
Add this powder to the tomato puree, along with another cup and half of water and let it cook on medium low for another 5 minutes. Cover and do not stir.
You will start noticing the froth forming on the top of this rasam and that is an indicator that it is coming together well. PIC 4
Now add the hing, some more curry leaves and some cracked black pepper on the top and get ready to make the tempering.
In a small skillet, heat oil or ghee, once it heats up, add the black mustard seeds, let crackle and then add the cumin seeds.
Now pour this over the rasam so that the hing and the crushed pepper get nicely toasted. Turn off the heat, remove from stove and serve with hot steamed rice or any grain of choice or drink it like you would a soup!
It is a very customizable recipe, so add more or less of any of the ingredients to make it to your liking,
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did….we loved this one !
Thank you for stopping by !