Rasam is a type of South Indian soup, well spiced, usually made with a base of either tamarind or tomato. ‘Rasam’ itself means ‘juice,’ meaning that a large part of the umami flavor derives from the juice of the tamarind or tomato used in the soup, in addition to the spices. This particular recipe for rasam uses tomato as the key ingredient. In the future I will post a tamarind rasam recipe.
The key to this dish is using tomato and red onion to their full effect, cooking them to bring out their sweet and rich flavors.
In addition to the red onion and tomato, you also need an abundance of spices. I used a whole dried chile, whole cinnamon (not cassia, but true cinnamon), bay leaf, whole cloves, ground mustard powder, coriander and cumin, as well as amchoor.
After the spices are dry toasted in your pot (the aroma will be enthralling), set them aside. Toasting the spices is an essential step. This wakes up the flavor of the spices.
Next, dry fry the tomato and red onions in the same pot until they begin to brown. Don’t burn them, but you want to get them pretty browned to develop the flavor.
Grate ginger and chop garlic. It’s usually easier to grate the ginger if you freeze it. When I do that I don’t even bother to peel it.
Once the tomato and red onions are beginning to brown add the ginger and garlic and a little bit of oil. Stir and cook for several minutes.
Next, add the toasted spices, then mix well.
Finally, pour in your favorite vegetable broth (yes, I used boxed veggie broth; it’s ok you can do that sort of thing sometimes). Bring to a gentle boil and let it simmer for about ten minutes. Add salt and pepper and diced cilantro before serving the tomato rasam.
- 1 tomato diced
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 2 or 3 cloves diced garlic
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a few cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground amchuur
- 1 dried red chile
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 tablespoons diced cilantro
Tomato rasam makes a great starter dish for any Indian curry meal. Don’t be afraid to try something new!