Tomato Rasam

6:04 AM

My stay in Japan is memorable in many ways. Not only it gave me an insight into living life in a foreign country but also taught the real value of relationship. Near or far ,many times we just forget or to put it more appropriately...the daily rut consumes us so much that we dont think of how special, how blessed we are to belong to a family. but being away makes our heart ache for those familiar touch, caressing voice. for some people its never a home away from home if your family is not around. but then, that is what life is all about. Making adjustments, finding happiness in a distant land makes us stronger. and having good friends makes the task much more easier. They are family when you are away and provides the comfort of home away from home when you seek.

I was blessed to find such friends in Japan. Lets call them S and T. We lived in the same apartment and the fact that all of us had kids of almost same age helped the matter initially. With the onset of heavy cold winter our friendship became more cosier. Every evening we used to meet at one of our apartments to have our cup of tea or coffee. While the boys played, fought, screamed and patched up amongst themselves we used this time to unwind from the daily grind. We shared everything from life to jokes to annoying habits of our husbands and more often than not food. We tried to support each other with whatever way possible. If one was not well the other did the grocery or looked after the kids. 

Someday we used to go out for shopping with our kids in the pram. The whole day of eating out, trying out new things and retail therapy made us happy like school kids. With them around life was a breeze. During the kids holiday we used to hold potluck. Each one cooking a dish and having our meal together. It was fun to spend the whole day watching movies on T's wide screen TV with the kids comfortably tucked away in the bed. 

Its difficult to express this relationship in words, but something which has a very special place in my heart...a memory that I will cherish all my life.

This Rasam reminds me of T. Who on one very rainy stormy afternoon served us piping hot rasam with chicken fry and sabudana papad. It was tangy yet so well balanced and the ajwain (caraway seeds) soothed our aching souls. With the onset of Monsoon again, though in a different country far away from where they are now I made rasam again, adding things as I remember. and just like their memory this Rasam too never fails to uplift my mood.

Tomato Rasam

Tomato: 4 medium
Garlic: 2 fat cloves
Rasam powder: 1 tsp
Ajwain: 1/3 tsp (optional but good for you)
Tamarinf paste: as per taste
Turmeric: 1/3 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder: 1/2 tsp (optional but gives a nice colour)

Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns: 1/2 tsp
Methi or fenugreek seeds: a big pinch

To temper:
Mustard seeds: 1/3 tsp
Asafetida: 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Dry red chili: 2
Oil: 1 tsp +1/2 tsp

Coriander leaves: optional

Wash and remove the stem eye of the tomatoes. Chop, sprinkle some salt on it, mix and keep aside.

In a mortar and pestle pound the cumin, coriander, pepper and methi to a coarse powder. Make a coarse paste of the garlic. keep aside.

Heat 1/2 tsp oil and add the garlic, the cumin coriander paste and saute for a minute. add the ajwain seeds and stir. Once the smell of ajwain hits you add all the chopped tomatoes. mix in the turmeric and stir to mix everything. Cover and let the tomatoes soften (4-5 minutes). With your spatula mash them to get a homogeneous mix. 

Now pour in 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Adjust the salt, add the rasam powder. chili powder if using and bring it to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes covered. Add the tamarind pulp (whether you need this depends on how tart you want it to be. If using plum tomatoes you might would like to add little tamarind for that tangy kick). Adjust the seasoning.

In the mean time in a tadka pan or a separate small pan heat 1 tsp oil. once it starts to smoke add the tempering ingredients. Let it pop for a minute. Be careful if using a tadka pan and adjust the heat.

Once you know your tadka is ready take a big lid (to cover the boiling rasam) in one hand and the Tadka pan in another. Funny but this works. Once you pour the tadka in the boiling rasam, immediately cover the pan with the lid. This way the aroma of the spices infuse well. Let it boil for a minute and then if you wish finish off with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice.

A Homemaker's Notes:

  1. You can also had a couple of tbsp of thick cooked arhar (pigeon pea) dal/ lentil.
  2. My friend used canned tomatoes and may be thats the reason she cooked the tomatoes rather than boiling it. I prefer to use her way with fresh tomatoes as well. Makes it easier one pot meal with less pots to clean afterwards.
  3. We love to drink it like soup during winter or monsoon.

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  1. wow such an delicious and tempting tomato rasam :) I wud love to have it with steamed rice and potato roast right away !!

  2. Lovely Rasam and beautiful presentation!!

  3. Adding ajwain in rasam sounds new.. love the color of the rasam, looks delicious and inviting.. nice clicks too..

  4. nice tempting clicks.. love the color of it

  5. the rasam looks really so good... agree to you that some friendships are such that they remain in ur heart for a long long time... :)

  6. True dear..god gives us enough opportunities to learn to live and co-exist with this world.I have learnt many lessons after coming out of my home and living in a foreign country.

    Tomato rasam is one the best comfort food thats good to both tongue and stomach.consume it in any form and the addition of ajwain is like a booster to it.

    Lovely pot there!


  7. I didn't have any idea about rasam before going to bangalore after my marriage. I have a special affair with rasam....never tried this tomato rasam.....ll have to make it very soon....awesome presentation deae

  8. I just had it for lunch..isn't it just perfect for a rainy cold day it

  9. Such a comfort soup. I can have it anytime with potato curry in the side..


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