Tomato Rasam

South Indian cuisine is among those cuisines that are slowly gaining popularity across the world. And why not? The cuisine is rich in not just flavors, but it’s the cooking technique and the use of fragrant and exotic spices that makes it stand out. And above all, the majority of the recipes are vegan. So, it is quite popular among vegans all across the globe. Check out our Coconut Stew. 

One such vegan dish I am going to talk about comes straight to you from my home’s dinner table back in the country. I grew up eating it almost every single day. And the best thing is, I have never got bored of it. It is a rich, hearty, fragrant, and incredibly delicious dish. It is called “tomato rasam.”

And the best part is the recipe is super simple. If you love spices, this is the recipe for you. You can make it within 30 minutes. Serve it as a soup or as a main course, and this dish offers versatility, convenience, and true flavors of south India.

This is a soup is prepared as a remedy for an upset tummy, in most South Indian households. Although it is eaten as a digestif to help digest the full meal you have just consumed, when made with all the appropriate accouterment, it can prove to be quite the delicacy.

vegan tomato rasam overlay in a clay pot

What Is Tomato Rasam?

Rasam or Mulligatawny – Derived from Milagu Thanni, in Tamil a south Indian language spoken widely in Tamil Nadu. The meaning of which is “pepper water”

Tomato rasam (Thakkali Rasam) is a vibrant and delicious dish that is native to south Indian cuisine. It is a staple in the region. In simple words, it is a south Indian version of tomato soup that is loaded with spices. This dish is versatile and utterly heavenly.

Traditionally the dish was made using tamarind. As a result, it had a sour, tangy flavor. However, with time tomato and tamarind were both used. 

The reason why I love this recipe is that it is jam-packed with nutrients and flavor. As you take the first spoon, the flavors of tomatoes, herbs, and spices will burst in your mouth.

Benefits Of Tomato Rasam

Now, tomato rasam is not just an addiction to your tastebuds but is also beneficial for your health. There is a reason, and the south Indian people love it so much. It offers several health benefits. Here are a few to name:

  • Firstly, it is gluten-free. So, if you are someone who has a gluten intolerance, this dish is perfect for you.
  • It is vegan and loaded with the goodness of vegetables, especially tomatoes.
  • Thanks to the medicinal properties of all the herbs and spices used in tomato rasam, it helps regulate your digestive system. as a result, it aids in improved digestion.
  • This soup also helps in improving your immunity. So, if you are feeling down after a long day of work, this recipe will definitely give you energy.
  • Because tomatoes are rich in water and other minerals, they act as a detoxifying agent. This benefit of tomatoes is passed down in the rasam as well. So, a tomato rasam detoxifies your body, giving you health, energy, and a natural glow.

ingredients for tomato rasam

Components Of Tomato Rasam

You might find several ways to make tomato rasam. The recipes vary from region to region; however, the majority of these recipes use three main components. These are:

v Tomato puree

. The best way to use tomatoes in this recipe is by pureeing them. You can do that by blending diced tomatoes in a high-power blender. You can either blend the tomatoes with skin on or blanch them first, and they puree them. The choice is yours.

v Herb and spice mixture

 Make sure you chop the spices coarsely and not like a fine paste. Next, you have to add black peppercorns and cumin. Give it a spin in the grinder or chopper and take them out in a bowl. Set them aside.

v For gravy

Next, you will need a few spices for the gravy. The gravy is essentially  the cooked down tomatoes and spices

Dried red chilies: dried red chilies bring heat to the dish.

Other Optional Ingredients:

  • Curry leaves: it is another crucial ingredient used frequently in Indian dishes. It brings an aroma to the dish.
  • Hing: also known as asafetida, this spice brings in a tangy flavor to the dish. However, if you are allergic to gluten, I recommend you don’t use it.
  • Turmeric powder: turmeric powder brings color to the dish.

Cooking tomato rasam

How To Make Tomato Rasam?

Now once we have got all the ingredients lined up, it’s time to start making the dish. Let me tell you, and it is quite easy to make. Here are a few steps you have to follow:

Step 1:  Add spices, and garlic in a food processor, or use mortar and pestle. process until it is a coarse paste. make sure the flame is low.

Step 2: Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the prepared paste, slow roast until fragrant, about one minute.

Step 3: Add tomatoes, tamarind paste, and water. Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Add salt to taste and cilantro to garnish. Enjoy!

Step 5: At this point, you have to cook according to the consistency you want. If you like a thicker consistency, you can continue to cook for some more time until you reach your desired results.

Step 5: Once it is done, garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot.

Tips And Tricks For Delicious Tomato Rasam

Making tomato rasam is pretty straightforward. However, for perfect results, follow these tips and tricks:

  • Make sure the tomatoes you are choosing are ripe, red, and soft to touch.
  • If you want a smoother rasam, use blanched tomatoes.
  • For perfect results, make sure you use fresh spices.
  • You can adjust the seasonings according to your flavor. If you don’t like spice, you can skip using dried red chili.
  • You can add urad daal as well.

Can You Store Tomato Rasam?

Yes, you can definitely store tomato rasam. Place the leftover rasam in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It stays fresh for up to two days. Furthermore, you can also make it in advance. In such a case, leave the garnish (freshly chopped coriander) out once you reheat the rasam. Then add coriander.

Moreover, you can also freeze tomato rasam for up to a week. Simply reheat it on the stove and adjust the spices to use later.

What To Serve With Tomato Rasam?

There are several ways to eat rasam. You can serve it as an appetizer and enjoy it in place of a soup, or you can serve it as a main course along with sides as well. Here are a few ways we eat tomato rasam at home:

  • Soup: imagine enjoying this hearty, comforting and flavorful dish on a cold winter night; the unique flavors and spices will melt your heart and give you the warmth you are looking for. However, it is not a dish for winters only. You can enjoy it whenever and wherever you want.
  • Rice: rice is another staple in south Indian cuisine. Whether it is coconut rice, plain boiled rice, or garlic rice, tomato rasam tastes amazing with it.
  • Flatbread: you can serve it alongside a flatbread. Dip the flatbread pieces in the tomato rasam and enjoy.
  • Pappadums: I particularly love tomato rasam with boiled rice and pappadums. The crunch you get from the pappadums, and the rasam’s heartiness is a match made in heaven.

Other Vegan Soups To Prepare

White Bean Soup

Vegan Zucchini Soup

Potato Leek Carrot Soup

Red Peas Soup

Instant Pot Vegan Split Pea Soup

rasam in a blue ceramic container

What are you waiting for? Let’s head to this amazing south Indian dish recipe!

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Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 85 kcal / 355 kJ
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Carbs: 0 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For:
  • 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add cumin seeds, fenugreek, black pepper, chili, garlic in a food processor, or use mortar and pestle. process until it is a coarse paste.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the prepared paste, slow roast until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, tamarind paste, and water. Reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add salt to taste and cilantro to garnish. Enjoy!
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Ayesha Tharasingh

Hi! It’s Ayesha living and working in the Catskill mountains all the way from Madras, South India, by way of New York City.
I spend my time farming during the summer months and while the snow melts I work on my natural fiber tapestries and other yarn projects.
Some of the things I try not to brag about are my chocolate and small-batch ice cream making skills.
My favorite recipes traveled with me along with my love for Indian cooking and eating!