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Tomato Rasam

Tomato rasam is a tangy and tasty South Indian dish made with tomatoes, lentils, spices and herbs. Usually, rasam is served with white rice and curried vegetables.
Also known as tomato charu in Andhra Pradesh, tomato saaru in Karnataka and thakkali rasam in Tamil Nadu.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Keyword entrees, indian, lentils, rice, soup, soups, stew, tamil, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people


  • Instant Pot (optional)
  • Stockpot
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife



  • Tomato - 3 medium size
  • Rasam Powder - 3 heaped tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Cooked tur dal - 1 cup
  • Curry leaves - 4 to 5
  • Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt as needed


  • Ghee - 2 tsp *
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 4 to 5
  • Cilantro chopped - 1/2 cup



  • Finely chop the tomatoes and add to a saucepan with 2 cups of water
  • Bring to a boil until tomatoes are soft. Optional step: for a smoother consistency, blend the softened tomatoes with a hand-blender or food processor. Add back to the pot.
  • Add the salt, rasam powder, turmeric, and asafoetida.
  • Cook on a low flame for roughly 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to bubble up
  • Mash the cooked dal and mix into the rasam.
  • Add approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water, until you have a watery and thin consistency.
  • Cook on a low flame. When the rasam begins to froth, turn off the flame. Make sure the rasam does not boil.
  • Add lemon juice and stir.

Seasoning (Tadka)

  • Heat ghee in a small fry pan. Add mustard seeds and close the pan with a lid. Turn the flame to low.
  • The mustard seeds will start to splutter. Once the mustard seeds stop spluttering, turn off the flame.
  • Add cumin seeds, and once they begin to sizzle, add curry leaves. Immediately pour the seasoning over the rasam.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.


*If you don’t have ghee, you can use clarified butter instead. Clarified butter: melt 1 tablespoon of butter on the stove until it becomes light golden, and use 2 teaspoons for the seasoning.
* Blending the tomatoes is optional. If you are okay with small chunks of tomatoes, skip blending them. We enjoy a smoother consistency but this isn’t a mandatory step.