Easy Tomato Rasam without Rasam Powder in under 30 minutes
Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Tomato Rasam is a classic South Indian rasam variation that is tangy, hot, mildly sweet, and soupy. Here comes Tomato Rasam without rasam powder in under 30 minutes which is not only easy to make but also makes a delicious comforting side dish in your meal.
Being a South Indian means only one thing – our meals are never complete without sambar, pappu, pappu charu, or rasam.
I have already shared a variation of rasam, Garlic Pepper Rasam. Today, I’m sharing the basic tomato rasam without rasam powder which I make frequently at home.
What is Tomato Rasam?
Tomato Rasam is a tangy, delicious, and flavorful South Indian soup or stew made that is prepared with tomato, tamarind, aromatics, Indian spices, and herbs. It is a side dish served with rice as a second course after sambar.
In Telugu speaking region, people call it Charu, Tomato Charu. The number of tomatoes used to make tomato rasam is the main difference when compared to a classic rasam. As it is a Tomato Rasam, the quantity of tomatoes has to be more than tamarind.
Tomato rasam is an integral part of any South Indian meal and is one of the mandatory dishes in festive meals, weddings, functions, restaurant buffet meals, or South Indian thali.
The ingredients used to prepare Tomato rasam make it an excellent food for digestion, or when fighting a cold or having a sore throat.
About Tomato Rasam Recipe
The traditional Tomato Rasam recipe uses tomatoes, tamarind, garlic, black peppercorns, curry leaves, coriander seeds, cumin, spices, and herbs. However, depending on region and house there are variations that are unique in their own way.
1. Saute the tomatoes in oil until they turn mushy.
2. Some crush tomatoes along with onions, tamarind, green chilies, coriander stems, and curry leaves with a clean hand.
3. Some people pre-cook the tomatoes separately in water.
4. Some use tomato puree (grind tomatoes in a blender).
This recipe is my grandmother’s way of making Tomato Rasam without any rasam powder and also without any dal. Preparing rasam without readymade rasam powder is an old and authentic way of making it.
Instead, I prepare a coarse spice mix with fresh ingredients – coriander seeds, cumin, curry leaves, garlic, and black peppercorns that makes this tomato rasam aromatic and appealing.
This spice mix can be added in two different ways. 1. Add it to the tomato and tamarind water directly and simmer until the raw flavor goes away. 2. Add the spice mix to the tempering and saute for a few seconds until aromatic. You can try both and stick to one of them.
A good rasam is assessed by its flavor, a perfect balance of sour, spice, and a hint of sweetness. Tamarind and the instant coarse spice mix combine well with the juices of the tomato and give a flavor that is characteristic of a typical Andhra Tomato Rasam.
While this tomato rasam recipe has a standard quantity of ingredients. You can add other ingredients or increase the prominence of any one ingredient to give a different taste.
Reasons to make
Simple and quick recipe
Bachelor and beginner-friendly recipe
Made with pantry staples in under 30 minutes
Made without rasam powder
A warm and comforting soup of spices
Perfect for any season
Easy to digest
Light on the stomach
The quantity of tamarind will depend on the sourness of the tomatoes. So adjust the number of tomatoes and tamarind according to your taste preference.
The key to getting an aromatic and flavorful tomato rasam is the coarse spice mix. So, do not skip even one ingredient as each spice has its own significance.
I have coarsely ground the spices. You can grind the ingredients to a fine powder.
Do not simmer rasam for a long time. The ingredients used to make rasam have delicate flavors, so boiling it for a long time will lessen the flavor.
Tomato: Use plump, juicy, ripest, and reddest tomatoes to make rasam. I prefer to use local tomatoes that make the base of the rasam and add a tangy taste to it. The other options are Roma or cherry tomatoes.
Tamarind: It is one of the main ingredients in any rasam. Along with tomatoes, it adds the perfect sourness to the dish.
Freshly ground spices: Coriander seeds, cumin, black pepper, curry leaves, and garlic.
The pungent flavor of the garlic mellows down while cooking and adds a beautiful flavor to the rasam. Though it is optional, I highly recommend it.
Tempering: clarified butter (ghee), cumin, mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry, and dry red chilies.
You can replace ghee with any neutral-flavored vegetable oil if you are looking for a vegan version.
Coriander leaves to add freshness and aroma.
Spice powders: turmeric powder and red chili powder. Both add a nice color boost and flavor.
Water: to adjust the consistency
Importance of Spices in Tomato Rasam
The spices used in making the Tomato Rasam have significant importance. They are not only great for health but also dense in nutrition.
1. Rasam is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like thiamine, folic acid, vitamin A, C, niacin, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, and magnesium. Some of these vitamins act as antioxidants to keep the body immune and healthy.
2. The most well-known health benefit of tomato rasam is that it improves digestion. The key players here are coriander seeds, cumin, and black pepper in the rasam is promoting digestion by secreting digestive juices in the stomach.
3. The spices help to dissolve toxins and flush them out of the body in the form of sweat and urine.
4. Fenugreek seeds enhance the taste of any tamarind-based soup and also increases the medicinal properties of the dish.
5. The fluid nature of rasam makes it a perfect food that provides nutrition when suffering from flu, cold, cough, fever, or diarrhea.
6. Jaggery helps in better absorption of iron in the body, boosts the secretion of digestive enzymes, cleanses the blood, boosts metabolism, etc
How to make Tomato Rasam without Rasam Powder
1. Take a deep pan or kadhai, add tomatoes (make an X cut on the tomatoes), lemon-sized tamarind, and 2 cups of water.
2 & 3. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 10 to 15 minutes. To reduce cooking time, you can pressure cook on a high flame for 3 whistles.
4 & 5. Use a potato masher and mash the tomatoes and tamarind very well. Alternatively, you can cool them and blend/grind them to a smooth puree. If you do not have a potato masher or blender, mash with the back of a cup.
6. Strain the puree. This step is beneficial for picky eaters who do not like tomato skin or bits while eating. Another option is to strain the tomato rasam and add the tempering.
7. Add 2 cups of water to the strained puree and simmer on low flame.
8. Take a chutney jar and add coriander seeds, cumin, and black peppercorns. Grind to a coarse or fine powder.
9 & 10. Add a few curry leaves and garlic cloves. Pulse 2-3 times.
11 & 12. Add the spice mix to the simmering puree along with turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.
13, 14, & 15. Mix well and bring it to a boil.
16. Add a small piece of jaggery and give a good stir.
17. Heat clarified butter (ghee) in a small pan over medium flame.
18. When hot, add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and cumin. Let the seeds crackle. Add dry red chilies.
19 & 20. Add curry leaves and let them crackle. Immediately, add asafoetida. Saute for 5 seconds.
21. Pour the tempering over the tomato rasam.
22 & 23. Add chopped coriander leaves and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
24. Turn off the flame. Tomato Rasam is ready.
Serve hot with steamed rice and your choice of side dish.
Tomato Rasam pairs best with hot steamed rice, a dollop of ghee, papad/poppadum, and tastes great when accompanied with a veg or non-veg fry as a side dish. Here are some sidekicks that pair well with Tomato Rasam – beans carrot poriyal, boiled potato fry, egg masala fry, chicken fry, chicken roast, potato fry, cauliflower fry, and fish fry.
You can also have idlis or vadas with rasam. Personally, I like to make rasam spicy and dip idlis or vadas in a bowl of rasam.
When suffering from a cold, cough, or sore throat you can have it as a drink.
You can store the leftover in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can also make a large batch, cool the rasam completely, transfer it to an air-tight container and refrigerate it.
Before serving, reheat only the quantity required in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave until hot.
More Related Recipes
If you’ve tried this old and authentic Tomato Rasam without Rasam Powder recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.
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How to make Tomato Rasam without Rasam Powder
- 2 large Tomato (or 3-4 medium size)
- lemon size Tamarind
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/2-1 tsp Red chili powder
- a small piece Jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Black peppercorns
- 6-8 numbers Curry leaves
- 5-6 cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Clarified butter (ghee or oil)
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 2 numbers Dry red chilies
- 4-5 numbers Curry leaves
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
- 2-3 tbsp Coriander leaves
- Take a deep pan or kadhai, add tomatoes (make an X cut on the tomatoes), lemon-sized tamarind, and 2 cups of water.
- Cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 10 to 15 minutes. To reduce cooking time, you can pressure cook on a high flame for 3 whistles.
- Use a potato masher and mash the tomatoes and tamarind very well. Alternatively, you can cool them and blend/grind them to a smooth puree.
- Strain the puree. Add 2 cups of water more to the strained puree and simmer on low flame.
- Take a chutney jar and add coriander seeds, cumin, and black peppercorns. Grind to a coarse or fine powder.
- Add a few curry leaves and garlic cloves. Pulse 2-3 times.
- Add the spice mix to the simmering puree along with turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.
- Mix well and bring it to a boil.
- Add a small piece of jaggery and give a good stir.
- Heat clarified butter (ghee) in a small pan over medium flame.
- When hot, add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and cumin. Let the seeds crackle. Add dry red chilies.
- Add curry leaves and let them crackle. Immediately, add asafoetida. Saute for 5 seconds.
- Pour the tempering over the tomato rasam.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
- Turn off the flame. Tomato Rasam is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice and your choice of side dish.