Tomato Rasam (Thakkali rasam)

4.85 from 13 votes

Tomato Rasam (Thakkali Rasam) is a spicy and tangy South Indian-style soup made using tomatoes, tamarind, and a spice mix called rasam powder. It is a staple in most South Indian households and is served with steamed rice for everyday meals. Make it using my easy recipe.

Here are some more variaions of rasam recipes: Beetroot Rasam, Kerala Style Rasam, Pepper Rasam, and Raw Mango Rasam.

Tomato rasam served in a bowl.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

This recipe took a few trials to develop. I love rasam, but most recipes I tried had large chunks of tomatoes coming into the mouth, which was unpleasant. I coarsely blended the tomatoes to give it a perfect texture and retain all the yummy flavors. This one extra step made my rasam recipe a hit. Try it and let me know if you are looking forward to this change too!

About Tomato Rasam

Tomato Rasam is a spicy and tangy South Indian soup made with fresh tomatoes, tamarind, and rasam powder. It is also called Thakkali Rasam in the local language.

Rasam is a staple in South Indian homes. It is made for everyday meals and served with steamed rice. On cold days, it can also be enjoyed as a warm and comforting soup.

Rasam is derived from the word “ras,” which translates to juice.

Also known as saaru in Kannada and chaaru in Telugu, it has multiple variations. Each region has its own version and differs from house to house.

Some people make it with lentils, and some do not. Some add rasam powder to their recipe, and some do not. Pineapple, green mangoes, garlic, ginger, beetroot, cumin, pepper, etc., are added to give it a delicious twist.

In this post, I share the basic tomato rasam recipe I frequently make at home. It can be made with or without rasam powder and cooked lentils and tastes delicious.

Ingredients

Tomatoes – Fresh, ripe tomatoes make the base of rasam and add a tangy, sweet taste.

Toor Dal – You can make rasam with or without lentils. I like to add a little cooked toor dal to my recipe, as it makes it slightly thicker. If you want to make it without the dal, skip adding it to the recipe.

You can cook the dal in a traditional pressure cooker or an instant pot. Check out my detailed toor dal recipe.

Tamarind Paste – It gives a nice tangy taste.

To make homemade tamarind paste, soak a lemon-sized ball of seedless tamarind in ½ cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze out the juice and discard the pulp. Use the tamarind water in the recipe in place of store-bought tamarind paste.

Rasam Powder – Tomato rasam gets its taste from rasam powder. I like to make rasam powder at home, but if you are on a time crunch, use store-bought powder.

Tempering Ingredients – Once the rasam is ready, it is tempered with brown mustard seeds, asafetida (hing), and dry red chilies, enhancing its taste even more. Tempering is optional, but it does add a great taste.

Other Ingredients – You will also need garlic, curry leaves, crushed black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), and salt.

How To Make Thakkali Rasam

Add ½ cup of chopped tomatoes to a blender and pulse 2-3 times to make a coarse paste.

Chopped tomatoes added to a blender.
Coarse paste made.

Add the following ingredients to a pan.

  • tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • ¼ cup cooked and mashed tuvar dal (pigeon peas)
  • 2-3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 10-12 curry leaves

Now, add 2 cups of water and stir gently.

Tomato paste, tuvar dal, tamarind paste, garlic, curry leaves and water added to a pan.

Cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium.

Now add the following ingredients and cook until it comes to a boil.

  • 1 tablespoon rasam powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Rasam powder, salt, black pepper and cumin added to the pan.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Add 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and remove the pan from heat.

Chopped cilantro added to rasam.

Heat 1 tablespoon ghee for tempering in a small skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the following ingredients once the ghee is hot, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 broken dry red chili
Mustard seeds, asafetida and dry red chili added to hot ghee.

Pour the tempering over the rasam and stir well. Serve hot.

Tempering poured over ready tomato rasam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make tomato rasam without tamarind?

Yes, you can replace tamarind with freshly squeezed lime juice or kokum. Though tamarind adds a unique taste, both the above options are great substitutes to add tanginess.
If using kokam, add 2-3 pieces while cooking, and if using lime juice, add it once the rasam is ready and off heat.

Can I make it without garlic?

Yes, if you are looking for a no-onion no garlic recipe, you can skip adding garlic.

Serving Suggestions

Rasam is traditionally served with steamed rice and a ghee dollop or curd rice. A side of poriyal or thoran makes this meal even better.

It can be served on its own as a soup.

It is great to sip on if you suffer from a cold, fever, stomach problems, or feeling sick.

Serve thakkali rasam as a side dish if you make a festive South Indian meal with Sambar, Rice, Thoran, Pachadi, Elai Vadam, and a South Indian sweet dish.

Rasam Idli and Vada are popular combinations that are usually served for breakfast.

You Might Also Like

Tomato Rasam is a spicy and tangy South Indian-style soup made using tomatoes, tamarind, and a spice mix called rasam powder. It is a staple in most South Indian households and is served with steamed rice for everyday meals. Make it using my easy recipe.
4.85 from 13 votes

Tomato Rasam Recipe (Thakkali Rasam)

Tomato Rasam (Thakkali Rasam) is a spicy and tangy South Indian-style soup made using tomatoes, tamarind, and a spice mix called rasam powder. It is a staple in most South Indian households and is served with steamed rice for everyday meals. Make it using my easy recipe.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

For The Rasam

  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • ¼ cup cooked and mashed toor dal (yellow pigeon peas lentils)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon rasam powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves

For The Tempering

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing)
  • 1 dry red chili (broken)
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

  • Add tomatoes to a blender and pulse 2-3 times to make a coarse paste.
  • Add tomato paste, tamarind paste, tuvar dal, garlic, and curry leaves to a pan.
  • Add 2 cups of water and stir gently.
  • Cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium.
  • Now add rasam powder, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, and salt, and cook until it comes to a boil.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Add cilantro and remove the pan from heat.
  • Heat ghee for tempering in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds, asafetida, and dry red chili, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
  • Pour the tempering over the rasam and stir well. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 234mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 405IU, Vitamin C: 56mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!
4.85 from 13 votes (13 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating