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Garlic Tomato Rasam

{module Anu Nagraja – Author } 




 Garlic Tomato Rasam



The light, comforting, soul satisfying mystical blend of spices with a tomato and or/or tamarind tang brings forth what we call in South India as RASAM.

It is described in Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems)that well-being is a balance between mind, body, and spirit and is not based entirely around nutritious food intake, but also needs to be complemented by well-being of the mind as described here. Ayurveda describes rasam or saaru as providing a feeling of complete satisfaction on completion of a meal owing to the ingredients used as also the manner of preparation(blend of spices) and consumption(with rice and ghee). It is also easily digestible.

Wikipedia describes rasam as ‘a south Indian soup’ traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, whole peppercorns, cumin and other spices. 

Rasam is thinner in consistency as opposed to the well-known ‘Sambar’. Served traditionally in south India, with rice as the second course after sambar rice, followed by curd rice (plain yogurt with rice).

The following recipe is Garlic Tomato Rasam. As the name suggests, along with the aromatic spices, the predominant flavors here are those of garlic and tomato.

This recipe was inspired by the recipe here. I added my own touches to suit our family. My kids enjoyed it very much and said I should experiment in this manner more often!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


Serves: 4


For the spice mixture>>

2 mild dry red chilies 

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns 

1 teaspoon coriander seeds 

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 

1 teaspoon oil 

For the rasam>>

2 small tomatoes *

10-12 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed; 2-4 of them finely chopped

1 small gooseberry size tamarind pulp *

3 teaspoons jaggery (or more as per taste)

Salt to taste

For the tempering>>

1 – 2 teaspoon ghee 

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 

6-8 curry leaves 


2 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped for garnish



Soak the tamarind pulp in 1 cup of water for 15minutes.

Make superficial cuts over the base of each tomato in the form of a cross.

Boil 2 -3 cups of water in a pot. Add these tomatoes and cook them for about 30 seconds or until you notice the peel coming off the tomatoes. (blanching)

Then pour out the hot water, add cold water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, peel them.

Now add the blanched tomatoes to the mixer/blender and make a puree.

Strain this puree to remove seeds and thicker bits.

In a pan, heat 1/2 teaspoon of oil, add the spices mentioned such as the dry red chilies, whole peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and roast at medium heat until they turn a darker shade and a good aroma emanates. Take care not to burn.

Allow the spices to cool, then grind them to a fine powder using a spice grinder/coffee grinder or a powerful blender.

Now, to the same pot used for blanching the tomatoes, add the puree.

Extract the juice from the soaked tamarind and add the tamarind water extract to the pot, bring it to a boil, cook until the raw flavor of the tamarind disappears.

Then add the ground spice powder, bring it to a good boil again adding 1 more cup of water, salt, crushed garlic, and jaggery. Ensure the spices cook and blend well. Add the chopped garlic at this point. Cook.

Prepare tempering by heating 1 teaspoon of ghee in a separate tempering pan.

Once the ghee heats up, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Add curry leaves. Turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the rasam. 


Note: Tomatoes, tamarind both contribute to the sourness of the dish. Hence, if your tomatoes are sour and less sweet, reduce the quantity of tamarind/extract used. 

Also adjust the quantity of jaggery needed to suit your taste.

Make sure to boil the rasam well so that the flavours become well incorporated, the spices soften and get cooked.






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