Indian Tangy Tomato Tamarind Soup / Rasam
Rasam is one of the easiest and the tastiest dishes if you cook it right. ‘Rasa’ in Tamil means soup / juice. It is made with a tamarind juice base with tomatoes and other ingredients. It is simple, and storable for two to three days, and can be made in a variety of ways. I love this dish for the calm feeling your stomach gets after having other Indian curries which are usually spicy. It is a very important health benefit of regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It is also an ideal dish to get your baby to start consuming solid food.
The dish is so simple, and most of the mixing is done before cooking it. Although practice makes this dish tastier, when you know how to mix and match ingredients, the first time you get it right, it always feel good, specially with this dish.
- Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball
- Salt to taste
- Canola oil / Olive oil / Sunflower oil - 2 tbsp
- Cilantro leaves - 1 cup, chopped
- Cumin seeds - 1.5 tbsp
- Black pepper seeds - 1.5 tbsp
- Garlic pods - 2 (big) or 3 (small)
- Dried red chilli (optional) - 1
- Green chilli (optional)- 1 small of 1/2 if big
- Tomatoes - 3 small
- Mustard seeds - 0.5 tbsp
- Urad Dal / White lentils, broken - 0.5 tbsp
- Dried red chilli - 2
- Curry leaves - 5 to 6
- Grind all the ingredients given in the 'To Grind' section to a coarse paste.
- Add the tamarind ball to a small bowl of warm water, and once they loosen up, squeeze them well to extract the juice.
- In a large bowl, add this extracted tamarind pulp. Re-extract more juice by adding more water to the tamarind pulp, and squeeze the juice. For a large bowl, the quarter of the bowl should have this tamarind pulp diluted with water.
- Now add the ground paste to the tamarind extract in the large bowl. Add salt to taste and mix well. Add the chopped cilantro and mix well. Now you should almost have the flavor of what you expect in the rasam except that it is uncooked.
- In a large wok, add oil, and add the items in the 'To Temper' section once the oil is hot enough.
- When the mustard seeds start to splutter add the rasam liquid mix that you just made.
- Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes.
- The rasam is now ready to serve.
- Serve hot with rice or as is, in a soup bowl.
- You will need a lot of salt for this dish.
- Turn off the stove the moment it starts boiling. That is when the taste is maximum.
- This is the basic version. Adding cooked lentils to this dish increases the protein content, and it is another form of making rasam.
- Do not use chillies in the 'To grind' section if you intend to serve this as a soup.