Cooking with Farm Fresh veggies / Gravy side-dishes / Sambhar & Rasams

Cooking with Farm Fresh Veggies: Simple Tomato Rasam

This is a series on cooking with vegetables fresh from my parents’ backyard.


When you have access to fresh ingredients, you must make the simplest of dishes to truly savour them. No exotic name to confuse the tongue, just a simple basic dish to play with your palate before it slips down the throat. Any south Indian meal is virtually incomplete without the humble rasam – a thin soup-like gravy. This can be treated as an appetiser or eaten mixed with rice as part of the main course.

For the last month or so tomatoes have invaded our backyard. Not the big sweet variety, but small tart ones that are only slightly bigger than the cherry tomato variety. We just halve them or even use them whole in most dishes. Its unique sour taste lends a wonderfully different flavour than the one we’re used to in our everyday dishes.

See those pretty green ones nestled in the greenery?

Well, we haven’t tried using the raw ones yet, but I really wouldn’t mind making a simple chutney with them. Another tomato dish in the offing…hurray! But for now, a simple tomato rasam.

Light Tomato Rasam

(Serves 4)


Tomatoes – 5-6 (small) or 2 (big)

Tamarind – size of half a gooseberry or small lemon OR tamarind paste – 1 tsp

Rasam powder* – 1 tsp

Split pigeon peas/toor dal – 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Coriander leaves – a few

Ghee/Clarified butter – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Asafoetida – a big pinch



Halve tomatoes if small or dice them into 1” pieces if using the bigger variety

Cook split pigeon peas/dal with turmeric powder in a pressure cooker or in a pot of water till soft and mushy

Soak tamarind in a cup of hot water. Once the water cools down, extract the pulp and keep aside (it must be somewhat thin and watery. If not, add ½ cup water). If using tamarind paste, mix in ½ cup of water

Boil the tamarind extract in a pot till it reduces to half the original quantity and the raw tamarind smell disappears

Add tomatoes, mashed lentil/dal and rasam powder and reduce heat to medium

When the liquid starts to froth at the sides, reduce heat a bit more

Remove the pot from heat when the liquid starts to froth a lot and forms a cap. Add asafoetida and salt and mix well

Heat ghee in a small saucepan and add mustard seeds

Add cumin seeds when mustard stops popping

Remove the saucepan from heat when cumin puffs up

Pour seasoning over rasam and garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Serve hot







6 thoughts on “Cooking with Farm Fresh Veggies: Simple Tomato Rasam

  1. Pingback: Keerai Porich Kootu/Spinach & Lentil « foodiliciousnan

  2. the thali spread is very nice..MY appa makes rice cheer & its one of the yummiest.. brings back memories now :).. Saw the paruppu sevai post.. gosh! i almost i was seeing the same thing.. & coincidently we both have down it for BM!

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  5. Pingback: Savoury Sour Cream Loaf for World Bread Day | foodiliciousnan

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