Rasam is a tasty, tangy, and flavorful South Indian side dish. It is prepared with tomato, garlic, tamarind, Indian spices, and herbs that make this recipe tasty. This authentic rasam serves as comfort food for cold, cough, and easy digestion. This is an easy and healthy side dish and can be made under 30 minutes and pairs best with white rice or just as it is for lunch and dinner.
What is Rasam?
Rasam is a common and delicious south Indian soup-like side dish that is simple and also healthy for many reasons. This dish requires fresh tomato, garlic, Indian spices, and herbs to prepare. This authentic rasam recipe can be made with homemade powder or store brought powder. The ingredients used in this dish helps for good digestion and remedy cold and cough.
This dish is popular in the southern state of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. This is prepared more frequently and served whether it is a festival meal, regular, or restaurant buffet meal.
In Andhra Pradesh, people call it charu, while in Karnataka it is saaru. Even though the terms in use are different, the ingredients to make this recipe are almost the same.
Variations in Rasam
Rasam is one of the easiest flavorful recipes that have a lot of variations. Even though traditional dish uses tomato, spices, and Indian herbs, it can also be made in different variations. People from some parts of south India, saute the tomatoes in oil until they turn mushy while some pre-cook the tomatoes separately in water. In some parts of South India, people also add jaggery to achieve a sweet punch to the dish.
You can also add dal, garlic, and tamarind for more different variations. Every variation is unique in its own way and also tastes delicious and comforting.
Even though preparing this dish without rasam powder is the old and authentic way of making it, nowadays the rasam powders are available in stores which can simplify the making process without drastically changing the authentic taste.
About this Rasam Recipe
The recipe I have shared here is a basic rasam recipe that does not require dal or powder. This dish uses basic and easily available ingredients that anyone could try and enjoy this dish. Initially, I prepared a coarse rasam mixture using fennel, cumin, garlic, dry red chilies, coriander stalks and kept it aside for later use in a blender.
Then in a pan with medium heat, I cooked the tomato and curry leaves until it turns soft. I transferred the mixture to a bowl and added 3 cups of water, turmeric powder, salt, tamarind water(diluted from 1 tsp of tamarind pulp), and coriander leaves. With my hand, I smashed the tomato and mixed everything well. Before starting this process, make sure to cool down the tomato completely as it might be hot.
After that, I tempered mustard seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, dry red chilies, and asafoetida in a pan with medium heat. Then I added the coarse mixture and sautéed it until it turns aromatic. And then added the tomato water mixture into it and gave a final stir.
Usually, I would like to add more garlic to my rasam, so I added some crushed garlic at the end. Adding garlic helps to relieve gastric and digestion problems. This is completely optional and you can try it yourself with and without garlic and see the difference in taste and flavor. I believe you won't regret it. Finally, I simmered the heat to low and allowed the rasam to cook until it puffed up which is the right consistency for this dish.
The key to getting a perfect rasam is to use the ingredients in the right quantity. If the spices are not in the right proportion, it may alter the taste and flavor of the dish. But you could always adjust the peppercorn and dry red chili according to your spice level which shouldn't alter the actual flavor of this dish.
Another important aspect of getting the best rasam is to always make sure not to burn the coarse mixture powder while sautéing. If it is burnt, the flavor would change completely and will not taste good. And always switch off the rasam once it starts to puffs up and never allow it to boil. Boiling it will alter the aroma and flavor of the dish as well.
This rasam recipe is an easy, healthy, and light side dish for any day. This dish pairs best with white rice and tastes great when accompanied with chicken recipes and non-veg curries and you could also soak Medu Vada in rasam and enjoy it as a savory snack dish. To relish as a perfect vegetarian and vegan platter, enjoy it with white rice, Poppadom, and Aloo Gobi.
To make your life easy, I have also created a collection of Indian Vegetarian Lunch Recipes in one place and I believe it will help you to plan your meal, prepare and enjoy at home. Take a peek!
Rasam Recipe video
I have shared the quick and easy steps to make this Tomato rasam without rasam powder and dal in the video below and I believe it will help you to prepare this dish at home and enjoy it. You could also find the recipe in story format.
For Rasam Mixture
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Peppercorn
- 9 Garlic Cloves
- 3 Red Chili, dry
- ¼ cup Coriander Stalk
- 3 Tomatoes, chopped
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- 3 ½ cups Water
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves
- 3 tsp Tamarind Water
- Salt, as needed
- 2 tsp Oil
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Urad Dal
- ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 2 Red Chili, dry
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Asafoetida, or hing
- 4 Garlic cloves, crushed
To Prepare Rasam Mixture
- In a blender, add fennel seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorn, garlic cloves, dry red chilies, and coriander stalk
- Grind it to a coarse paste and keep it aside for later use
To Prepare Rasam
- In a pan with medium heat, boil tomatoes and 1 spring of curry leaves with half a cup of water. Allow the tomatoes to cook until it turns soft and cool it down completely
- Transfer the tomato water mixture to another bowl and add 3 cups of water, turmeric powder, coriander leaves, tamarind water, and salt and mix everything well by mashing tomatoes with hands
- Now in a pan with medium heat, pour oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds, dry red chili, 1 spring of curry leaves, asafoetida/hing, and stir fry until it splutters
- Add the grind coarse rasam mix and saute until it turns aromatic
- Now pour the prepared tomato water mixture into it and give a nice mix
- Finally, simmer the heat and add the crushed garlic cloves
- Allow the tomato rasam to cook until it starts to puffs up
- Switch off the heat and now the flavorful tomato rasam is ready for you to serve and enjoy
- Serve the delicious rasam with white rice along with papad/appalam or vathal
- Make sure not to burn the rasam mix while sauteing, which will alter the taste of the rasam
- Always switch off the heat once the rasam starts to puffs up, and make sure not to boil it. This is very important to get an authentic flavor and taste
- I would recommend you to add hing/asafoetida which helps in enhancing the taste and flavor of rasam
- This rasam uses a minimal amount of tamarind pulp which helps the rasam to stay good for 2 days
Rasam is an authentic healthy, easy, and tangy South Indian soup-like dish made by simmering tomato water, Indian spices, and herbs. It has different names like rasam, charu, and saaru according to the regional language.
Yes, rasam is a healthy dish, and the ingredients used are known to comfort cold, cough, and fever gastric and digestion problems.
Rasam should be removed from heat once it starts to puffs up and it should not be boiled. Boiling the rasam will alter the flavor and taste of the dish.
Add the cooked toor dal along with tomato water mixture and follow the rest of the process mentioned in the recipe card.
Yes, you can do it. Just skip the garlic in the recipe for garlic free rasam.
Yes, of course it is a vegan friendly dish.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.