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South Indian Instant Rasam Recipe Without Tomato

Shwetha Bhat is passionate about food and cooking. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and share her recipes.

This instant rasam gets its sourness from tamarind rather than tomato.

This instant rasam gets its sourness from tamarind rather than tomato.

Instant Rasam Without Tomato

A traditional South Indian meal is incomplete without rasam. Often, rasam is made with tomato, but this variation gets its sourness from tamarind, instead.

You can buy readymade rasam powder at the store, but I'll show you how to make it from scratch. Though it does take a few extra minutes to dry-roast the spices and grind them into a powder, the reward is a more flavorful and authentic rasam. Many of the spices used here have health benefits; for example, cumin and coriander are good for digestion.

There are many different ways to make instant rasam, but the method I'll show you here is one of the easiest. The results are absolutely delicious, too!

Serve this rasam hot with rice along with any other side dish of your choosing for a lovely lunch or dinner.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

3 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils), washed and soaked for 10 to 15 minutes
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, soaked in water and squeezed for juice (or use store-bought tamarind paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander (dhaniya seeds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon methi (fenugreek seeds)
  • 4 to 5 dry red chilies, I used byadagi red chilies; you can use both byadagi and guntur red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery, or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

For the tempering:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil or ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 to 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 to 2 green chilies
  • 1 to 2 strings fresh curry leaves

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, rinse toor dal 2 to 3 times. Add sufficient water to cover and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (this step isn't required, but soaking will lessen the cooking time).
  2. After soaking, transfer the toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water or more to cook. Add the turmeric powder and coconut oil or ghee. Close the lid and take 4-5 whistles, or until the lentils are cooked. Switch off the flame and let the pressure settle naturally.
  3. Place the tamarind pulp in a bowl, add water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (skip this step if you are using store-bought tamarind paste).
  4. When the tamarind pulp is soft enough, squeeze the juice into the water in which it is soaking and discard the fiber. Set aside.
  5. In a frying pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, methi and dry red chilies. Fry over low heat till the mustard seeds start to splutter, the coriander seeds turn golden brown and the red chilies become crisp. Turn off the heat and let the spices cool.
  6. Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a mixer jar and grind to a coarse powder. Your rasam powder is ready. Set aside.
  7. When the pressure of the cooker settles naturally, open the lid. Using a masher or the back of a ladle, mash the cooked lentils until smooth.
  8. Transfer the mashed dal to a pan, add 1 cup of water and let it come to a boil over medium heat.
  9. Add tamarind water (or tamarind paste) to the lentils and cook for 1 minute or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  10. Add the prepared ground rasam powder and mix. Add the jaggery and adjust the salt. Add water to achieve your desired consistency and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until the dal blends well with rasam powder.
  11. Add the coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
  12. Make the tempering: In a frying pan, heat 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil or ghee and splutter the mustard seeds. Add broken red chilies, green chilies and fresh curry leaves. Fry and then turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the rasam.
  13. Serve the rasam hot with rice along with any other side dishes of your choosing.

Pictorial

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup of toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils). Rinse well with water.

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup of toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils). Rinse well with water.

Soak the toor dal for 10 to 15 minutes (this step lessens the cooking time).

Soak the toor dal for 10 to 15 minutes (this step lessens the cooking time).

After soaking, transfer the lentils to a cooker.

After soaking, transfer the lentils to a cooker.

Add enough water to cook the lentils, then add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or ghee).

Add enough water to cook the lentils, then add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or ghee).

Close the lid and take 4-5 whistles or until lentils are cooked. Switch off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Close the lid and take 4-5 whistles or until lentils are cooked. Switch off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.

In a bowl, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp, add water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (skip this step if you are using store-bought tamarind paste).

In a bowl, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp, add water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (skip this step if you are using store-bought tamarind paste).

After the pulp has softened, squeeze the pulp into the water in which it is soaking and discard the fiber (filter it if there are any impurities). Set aside.

After the pulp has softened, squeeze the pulp into the water in which it is soaking and discard the fiber (filter it if there are any impurities). Set aside.

In a frying pan, add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds.

In a frying pan, add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds.

Add 4 to 5 dry red chilies and dry-fry over low heat till the spices turn aromatic (the mustard seeds should splutter, the coriander seeds should turn golden brown and the red chilies should become crisp). Switch off the heat.

Add 4 to 5 dry red chilies and dry-fry over low heat till the spices turn aromatic (the mustard seeds should splutter, the coriander seeds should turn golden brown and the red chilies should become crisp). Switch off the heat.

Cool the spices completely and transfer them to a mixer jar.

Cool the spices completely and transfer them to a mixer jar.

Grind the spices coarsely.

Grind the spices coarsely.

Transfer the ground spices to a bowl. Your instant rasam powder is ready.

Transfer the ground spices to a bowl. Your instant rasam powder is ready.

When the pressure in the cooker has settled naturally, open the lid. The lentils should be cooked.

When the pressure in the cooker has settled naturally, open the lid. The lentils should be cooked.

Using a masher or the back of a ladle, mash the cooked lentils to form a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of water.

Using a masher or the back of a ladle, mash the cooked lentils to form a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of water.

Transfer the mashed lentil mixture to a pot and cook over medium heat. Let it come to a boil.

Transfer the mashed lentil mixture to a pot and cook over medium heat. Let it come to a boil.

Add the squeezed tamarind water (or tamarind paste).

Add the squeezed tamarind water (or tamarind paste).

Boil for 1 minute or till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.

Boil for 1 minute or till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.

Add the prepared rasam powder (if you prepared a large quantity, just add about 2 to 3 teaspoons). Mix well.

Add the prepared rasam powder (if you prepared a large quantity, just add about 2 to 3 teaspoons). Mix well.

Add about 1 teaspoon of jaggery (or more to taste). The jaggery balances the sourness of the tamarind.

Add about 1 teaspoon of jaggery (or more to taste). The jaggery balances the sourness of the tamarind.

Adjust the salt and add water if required. Bring back to the boil and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the spices have blended well. Switch off the heat.

Adjust the salt and add water if required. Bring back to the boil and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the spices have blended well. Switch off the heat.

Add the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Add the finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Make the tempering: In a frying pan, heat oil or ghee, splutter the mustard seeds, add broken red chilies, 1 to 2 green chilies and fresh curry leaves. Fry.

Make the tempering: In a frying pan, heat oil or ghee, splutter the mustard seeds, add broken red chilies, 1 to 2 green chilies and fresh curry leaves. Fry.

Add the tempering to the rasam.

Add the tempering to the rasam.

Serve hot with rice along with any other side dish of your choice. Enjoy!

Serve hot with rice along with any other side dish of your choice. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Tamarind: Use hot water to soak the tamarind pulp. Hot water helps soften the pulp more effectively.
  • Sourness: This rasam does not contain any tomatoes. Instead, the sour flavor comes from the tamarind.
  • Consistency: You can adjust the consistency of the rasam by adding more or less water. Be careful not to add too much water, however, as the flavors will become diluted.
  • Red chilies: Using Kashmiri or byadagi red chilies gives a beautiful red color to the dish. If you want more spiciness, add guntur chilies or any other type of spicy red chili.
  • Ghee: For extra flavor, use ghee in the tempering.
  • Spices: You can adjust the spices according to your preference.

Comments

Shwetha bhat (author) from Bengaluru on August 21, 2020:

Yes. It is delicious and very easy. Healthy too. Thanks for the comment. Please give a try and enjoy.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 21, 2020:

This rasam recipe looks delicious and the recipe looks easy to follow. Thanks for this recipe, Shwetha.