Apr 06, 2013

Tomato Rasam

Rasam is a South Indian soup, traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, black pepper, cumin and other spices. In Sanskrit language, ‘rasa’ means juice. Rasam can refer to any juice but is commonly referred to something prepared with tamarind and tomato juice with added spices. It is traditionally eaten with rice and often contains lentils.

I recently had my first taste of Tomato Rasam at Mela in Asheville. I loved the spices. However, as usual, it was way too salty and also had quite a bit of oil. So… I decided to make my own version of this warming, flavorful soup.


  • 1 26 oz. container chopped tomatoes (see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, seeds removed (unless you like it super hot!)
  • 5 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 TBS tamarind paste (find in health food stores or here)
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 inch fresh grated ginger
  • 1 TBS apricot or plum fruit only preserves
  • 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce such as coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp turmeric (If you ever see fresh turmeric root in the store, snatch it up! It’s really nice to use in a recipe such as this, instead of the powdered version)
fresh turmeric


  1. Add all ingredients to a soup pot and simmer on low for one hour. If you have the time, cook it longer. The longer it cooks, the more mellow the overall flavor will be and the more the spices will meld. If it’s not cooked long enough it can tend to be too acidic.
  2. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
  3. Feel free to add some cooked lentils and serve over a rice of your choice!
Helyn’s Notes: It’s becoming more and more of a challenge to find tomato products which do not contain salt. What a pain. I used to buy Cento brand. I recently picked up a can and got home. Looked at the label to find salt. WHY? There is one brand which I love called Pomi. If you can’t find it in the supermarket, you can get it online (I have it listed in my store… see store link above). As of yet, Pomi brand does not use anything other than fresh tomatoes in their products. So that’s what I’m using these days. Come summer I will be canning my own 🙂

Serves 3-4. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

2 responses to “Tomato Rasam”

  1. Unknown says:

    Cant wait to try this!

  2. Helyn says:

    Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, Erin!

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