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Tomato Rasam – A South Indian Staple

Tomato Rasam – GirijaPaati Style South Indian traditional vegetarian recipes from an Indian grandmother's kitchen

Team Girija Paati |

Rasam, a staple South Indian dish, is a paradox. Seemingly easy and straightforward to make, this is one dish that is the ultimate test of a cook’s patience and precision.

There are no second chances with rasam, given how delicate the flavours are. You can’t rush it along, nor can you be complacent. Done right, this is definitely one of the most flavourful of all Indian dishes, we at least think so.

Here we share Girija Paati’s classic tomato rasam, that is the perfect combination of sweet, sour and spicy, a definite treat for the taste buds.

 Tomato Rasam – GirijaPaati Style South Indian traditional vegetarian recipes from an Indian grandmother's kitchen

Serves: 4


  1. Tomato – medium – 2 – chopped finely
  2. Coriander – to season
  3. Curry leaves – to season
  4. Tamarind – 1 piece – lemon size
  5. Girija Paati’s Sambar Podi – 1 heaped tsp
  6. Mustard seeds – to season
  7. Dried Red chilies – 2
  8. Green chillies – 1
  9. Asafoetida – 1 piece – size of 2 peas
  10. Turmeric – to taste
  11. Rock Salt – to taste
  12. Thur dhal – 2 tbsp
  13. Water – as needed
  14. Gingelly oil – to season
  15. Girija Paati’s Rasam Podi – to taste (optional)

Girija Paati’s traditional South Indian podis and masalas are available here.


  1. Soak the tamarind and extract tamarind water. You should get about 1.5 glasses of extract
  2. Add the tomatoes, coriander, curry leaves, rock salt , sambar podi, asafoetida, green chillies in a bowl and mash together by hand
  3. Add water into the tomato mixture and set on a low flame. Boil till the smell of raw tomatoes and sambar podi disappears
  4. Add the tamarind water into the boiling tomato mixture. Allow to cook for 10 minutes
  5. In a cooker, add a few drops of gingelly oil, thur dhal, turmeric and a glass of water. Close the cooker with the whistle weight and place on the stove to cook. Allow six whistles before switching it off.
  6. Once the cooker cools, open and drain the water. Retain the dhal water. Smash the dhal mixture, then add back the dhal water, along with another 1-1.5 glasses of water. Mix well
  7. Add the lentil mix to the boiling tomato tamarind mixture. Add rock salt
  8. Allow the mixture to rise and foam. Switch the flame off before it starts boiling
  9. Prepare a tadka with gingelly oil*, mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves.
  10. Add the tadka into the rasam
  11. Add chopped coriander on top.
  12. Optionally, add some Rasam Podi on top for more flavour. Close and leave
  13. Serve hot.

*You can use ghee instead of gingelly oil for even more fragrance.

We love to top our rasam rice with classic mixture for some crunch.

Download the printable recipe here.

Tip: Use a traditional tin rasam pot – Eeya Chombu - if you can get your hands one. It makes the rasam extremely delicious.

Warning: Do not leave the Eeya Chombu on heat / flame without water in it, as it will melt immediately.

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Tomato Rasam – GirijaPaati Style South Indian traditional vegetarian recipes from an Indian grandmother's kitchen 

1 comment

I like your traditional south Indian recipes.
Would love to know more about them.

Gita ,

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