What is Rasam?

Rasam is South India's award-winning contribution to the incredible world of Sour Soups! It's South Indian hot and sour soup - hot from the mélange of spices in Tangy Rasam PODI and tempering, and sour from the traditional combination of tamarind + tomatoes. 

Lets talk science!

Scientifically it is a spicy, acidic broth with an aromatic tempering!

Using this basic principle, culinary creatives have riffed a million rasam variations - like mango rasam, tomato rasam, pineapple rasam, fresh coriander rasam, lemon rasam, chicken rasam etc...the list goes on. 

While the spices tend to be quite constant - usually a combination of coriander seeds, black pepper, cumin, turmeric and chilies, the acidic component is varied! You can use any sour fruit - like tomatoes, mangoes, tamarind, lemon, pineapple or even apple cider vinegar. 

The broth can be simply water or vegetable stock or chicken broth. 

A tempering is a must for rasam! Bloom whole spices in oil to release their flavor molecules, and add incredible aromatics - like garlic, and another earthy layer of curry leaves if you have them.

Easy Breezy Recipe

COOK TIME: 30 mins || Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, boiled and peeled or 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 quarter sized ball of tamarind / 1tbsp tamarind paste
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tbsp Tangy Rasam PODI
  • 1 tsp Crispy Garlic PODI 
  • 1 tbsp Curry Leaf PODI 
  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, optional but aesthetic
  • 2-3 dry red chilies (any low to medium-spicy kind), optional but aesthetic
  • 4 garlic pods
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, optional but aesthetic
  • 1 fresh bunch of coriander leaves/cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING:

Step 1 - Prepping the tomato base

Easiest method: Take a can of good quality canned tomatoes like San Marzano tomatoes. 

Medium-effort method: Cut tomatoes into four quarters, boil tomato quarters in a medium sized pan with 500 ml of water. Once the water comes to a boil, start the timer, cook for 5 mins. Turn off heat. Let it cool to room temperature.

High-effort method: Place X shaped cuts on either the either end of tomatoes. Place slit tomatoes in a medium pan, in an excess of water (until tomatoes are submerged). Once sufficiently boiled (~5 min of rolling boils), the peel will start to curl. Scoop tomato out of the water and peel. Let it cool to room temperature. 

Step 2 - Making your spice blend

In a bowl, mix the following PODIs: 

Step 3 - Infusing tomato base with spices

Blend cooled (and peeled) tomatoes with spice mix above, 500 ml water and blend with an immersion blender. Some (5%) tomato chunks are ok. Bring this mixture to boil, simmer for 10 mins on medium heat. 

Step 4 - Tempering!

  • Keep crushed and chopped garlic ready
  • In 2 tbsp of ghee/olive oil, add mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chilies, crushed garlic. Let garlic brown! 
  • Pour tempered spices into rasam! Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro - remember to include cilantro stems (that's where most of the flavor is!)

FIVE COOL & BALANCED WAYS TO ENJOY YOUR DELICIOUS RASAM 

1. Balanced South Indian Meal: With rice, plain overcooked lentils/cooked,  topped with a fried egg or jammy egg!

2. Braise Away: Pan-fry chunky chicken thighs or big chunks of Cabbage in ghee, braise/slow cook them alongside creamy white beans like Alubia Blanca in Tomoto Rasam, for a big pot of winter comfort!

3. Rasam Ramen: Mix 1 tbsp miso into hot rasam, dunk cooked rice noodles, top with shredded chicken/jammy eggs/chicken meatballs/chickpea falafel-style balls

 

4. Drink it like Soup: Dilute it with hot water and add some salt to balance it out, serve in bowls or a small shot glass!

5. Poach your Salmon: Simply cook your salmon on a pan, skin side down, if you want crispy skin, cook slowly with a few ladles of tomato rasam! 

6. Bonus tip: Speaking of seafood, you can also cook shrimp or mussels in this delicious, tangy, piquant tomato rasam! Imagine serving this with some baguettes and impressing yourself and your dinner party guests :) 

As always, give yourself the license to play and bon appetit! 

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