Tomato Rasam

Whenever I was ill as a child my mother would make me a big steaming bowl of this. She would also inexplicably give me Lucozade, but it was the 80’s I suppose. Sometimes I find myself craving this spicy, tangy broth. Adding soaked mung beans makes for a more substantial dish.

A handful of tamarind pods, soaked in warm water
4 ripe tomatoes
4 tsps toor dhal
1 small bunch coriander
4 cloves garlic
¼ tsp cumin seeds
Sprinkling peppercorns
¼ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Pinch or two of salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp tomato paste
Pinch of asafoetida powder
4 sprigs of curry leaves
800 ml of cold water
a handful of mung beans, soaked overnight (optional)

wash the dhal and place in a large saucepan
Add 800 ml cold water and bring to boil over a medium heat, leave to simmer for 20 mins.
Crush 4 cloves of garlic with the flat part of a knife
Place the garlic cloves into a pestle and mortar.
Add the peppercorns and the cumin seeds and roughly grind.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over a high heat, add the garlic mixture to the pan and stir for 1 min. Turn down the heat and simmer
Chop the coriander leaves using a sharp knife and put the stems to one side.
(A good test of freshness is to put the chopped coriander in a bowl of water. The freshest leaves will always float to the top)
Turn the heat up and add the 3 sprigs of curry leaves to the saucepan.
Add the coriander stems.
Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and add to the pan, stirring for 30 seconds then reduce heat.
Add the lentils and the lentil cooking water.
Add half a tsp of red chilli powder then add ½ tsp turmeric powder and bring to the boil then turn down. Simmer for 10 mins
Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat until the tomatoes are soft, check and stir occasionally.
In a separate pan heat 1 of vegetable oil on a high heat. After a minute when the oil is very hotadd ½ tsp mustard seeds when they start to pop add 1 sprig of curry leaves and the asafoetida.
Keep stirring. Add the tempering spices and the tamarind.
Add tomato paste, salt ladle into bowls and add the coriander and serve.


  1. Saw you on WoM 🙂

    This does sound gorgeous and spicy and much nicer than the san byohk I used to get.

    I really love proper mulligatwany too.

    Never saw the appeal of Lucozade, mind.

  2. gorgeous, love anything w toor dahl.

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