Tomato Rasam

I jus luv this anytime. For those of you who do not know what rasam is, its a kind of south Indian soup with spice and lentil. But it is normally not served as a starter and you generally have it towards the end of your main course before curd rice. Rasam is something traditional which aids in digestion after a heavy meal and we south indians make it almost everyday. A south Indian thali is not complete without rasam. We can actually make several kinds of it and the recipe varies with each household. I bet no two persons make it in a similar way. Even if you follow the same method, the final product might actually taste a bit different. I would say it takes lot of expertise to make a perfect rasam. What else could comfort you more than a perfect rasam on a cold night or when you are down with fever or a bad cold? One can have a wonderful feast out in a restaurant or a star hotel but I feel this particular thing is best made at home. As a kid, I was fussy about food and my mom always had a tough time making me eat. But even then, I used to feast on a plate of rasam rice with a papad to go with, as if it were the ultimate food on earth. I give here the recipe for one type of rasam I regularly make at home. Will post more in the days to come.

Ripe Tomatoes - 2 finely chopped
Cooked thoor dhall - 1 cup
Tamarind - half lime size
Rasam powder(see the method below) - 4 tsp
Jaggery powder (optional)- 1/2 tsp
Fresh spice powder - 3 tsp (powder 1 tsp pepper corn and 2 tsp cumin without roasting)
Salt to taste
Asafoetida - 1/2tsp
Coriander to garnish
ghee,curry leaves and mustard to season

Rasam powder:
Dhaniya seeds - 1 cup
Thoor dhall - 1/4 cup
Pepper - 1/4 cup
Cumin - 1/4 cup
Fry the ingredients on a dry tawa and powder with 5 red chillies.I do not prefer storing this for a long time. Generally I make this every week.

1.Add the tomatoes to half cup water and boil for 5 min till it becomes soft.
2.Add asafoetida,rasam powder,tamarind pulp,jaggery,salt and boil till the raw smell goes.
3.Add 2 cups of water to the cooker dhall, mash well and add to the rasam.Heat for a short time till it becomes frothy. Do not boil it.
4.Switch off the flame, add the fresh spice powder(do not store, make it fresh everytime) and chopped coriander.
5.Season with mustard and curry leaves fried in ghee.

1. Always make the rasam in a narrow, tall and thick bottomed vessel over slow fire.
2. Do not boil the rasam; just heat it till frothy.
3. Do not store the rasam powder for more than 15 days. The aroma and flavour gets lost.
4. The composition I have mentioned is to suit my taste. Adjust the ingredients and customise if required. Avoid jaggery if you do not like the mild sweetness.