Tomato Tamarind Soup (Rasam)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
tamarind tomato soup

Though this delicate yet most flavorful soup could appear on menus all year round, it is particularly comforting during the winter months. Easy to prepare, thin and often watery rasams are typically served as the second course of a South Indian meal. Tamarind, tomatoes, and lemon or lime figure prominently. In this case, I had some homemade sambar powder in the cupboard that really worked just as well as rasam powder, and I skipped the citrus though you may want to include some. I made this a bit thicker than traditional rasams, so feel free to adjust the water to achieve your desired consistency.

As is the case with most soups, this one tastes even better the next day as the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Tomato Tamarind Soup (Rasam)Tomato Tamarind Soup (Rasam)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on December 16, 2012

Fragrant, spicy and warming tomato soup simmered with tamarind, ginger and split peas

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  • 2/3 cup toor dal or yellow split peas
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste, seeds removed
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 or 3 fresh chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley or coriander for garnish, chopped
  • hot pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
  • Rinse the toor dal or yellow split peas under cold water. Transfer to a large saucepan along with 2 cups of water and the turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes until the toor dal is soft and breaking apart.

  • Stir in the tamarind and add the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil again. Turn the heat down to medium and whisk in the tomatoes and a teaspoon of sea salt. Stir in the ginger and chilies and simmer for 15 minutes or until the soup is thickened, whisking occasionally.

  • Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan or frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds if using, and stir for 30 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the sambar powder, cayenne and curry leaves, and stir for another minute. Pour the tempering into the soup, stir in the garam masala, and let sit for five minutes, covered.

  • Add some black pepper, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot with fresh parsley or coriander and a scattering of hot pepper flakes.

Makes 6 servings
tamarind tomato soup rasam

More vegetable soups you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Tomato Soup with Polenta Croutons and Chive Oil
Tomato Corn Chowder
Curried Indian Vegetable Soup

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1 comment:

Carole said...

Just to let you know that your link to Food on Friday: Asian Food was featured in my Need Some Inspiration? Series today. Have a nice week, Lisa.