Bowl of Udupi Tomato Rasam
(click to enlarge)

Udupi Tomato Rasam
India, South
  -   Thakkali Rasam Udupi
Makes:
Effort:
Time:
DoAhead:  
5 cups  
***
1-3/4 hr  
Yes
To us in the West, Rasams are soups, but soups were unknown in India until the European invasions (they didn't have spoons). In southern India, Rasams are eaten ladled over rice as a second course - still a good way to go, or eat it as a soup. Most of the Prep time is for hand chopping tomatoes - you can use a processor but will get a somewhat different texture.



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1/8
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1/4
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c
c
T
c

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t
t
t
t
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t
t
t
t
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T
c
c
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T
Ripe Tomatoes (1)
Toor Dal (2)
Water
Tamarind (3)
Water
Green Chili (4)
-- Tempering
Mustard seeds (5)
Cumin seeds
Asafoetida (6)
Curry Leaves (7)
-- Powders
Udupi Rasam Podi (8)  
Turmeric
Jaggery
Salt
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Coconut Oil (9)
Water
Water (more)
-- Garnish
Cilantro Leaves
PREP   -   (1-1/2 hr - 30 min work)
  1. Chop TOMATOES fine, but not to a purée.
  2. Wash TOOR DAL in several changes of water. Put in a sauce pan with 1 cup Water and bring to a boil uncovered, then cover tightly and simmer slowly for 1-1/2 hours. Stir several times during the last 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. IF your TAMARIND is paste, chop and soak in just boiled water for at least 1/2 hour. Force it through a wire strainer, keeping liquid and pulp, discarding fiber.
  4. Chop GREEN CHILI fine.
  5. Mix together all Tempering items.
  6. Mix together all Powders items.
  7. Chop CILANTRO small for Garnish.
RUN   -   (25 min)
  1. In a sauce pan (3 qt is good), heat Coconut Oil quite hot. Stir in Tempering mix. When mustard seeds start to pop (about 20 seconds), stir in Chili, followed by Tomatoes and 1 cup Water. Stir in Powders mix, bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in cooked Toor Dal (including liquid) and 1-1/2 cup Water. Bring back to a boil and it is ready.
  3. Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro. Accompany with long grain rice (south Indian or Thai Jasmine).
NOTES:
  1. Tomatoes:   These need to be very good quality fully ripe tomatoes, for both taste and color. Get them from a grower or Farmer's Market if possible. For details see our Tomatoes page.
  2. Toor Dal:   This is peeled and split Pigeon Peas, also called Tuvar Dal and Red Gram (for the flowers). This is available at any market serving an Indian community. Buy the unoiled. For details and cooking method see our Pigeon Peas page.
  3. Tamarind:   If your Tamarind is concentrate in a jar, use 2 T, or if it's block use about 2 T, soak and strain. If you don't have tamarind use 4 T lemon juice - not the same, but it's something. For details see our Tamarind page.
  4. Green Chili:   The hot green Jwala chilis used in India are not much available even here in Los Angeles, so we use Serranos. One will be just noticeable depending on how hot the individual chilis are (like all chilis they are quite variable). Most of the heat in this recipe comes from the Rasam Podi. For details see our Indian Chilis page.
  5. Mustard Seeds:   In India black mustard seeds are always used, but yellow will work.
  6. Asafoetida - Hing:   This is the resin of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat onions or garlic, but is also often combined with onions.   Caution: there are two forms: Pure Hing (asafoetida beads or ground) and the more common "Hing Powder". The "powder" is heavily cut with rice flour. The amount given here is for pure asafoetida. Use about 3 times as much if what you have is the "powder" form. For details see our Asafoetida page.
  7. Curry Leaves:   These are essential for the flavors of southern India, but if you don't have them, leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. For details see our Curry Leaf page.
  8. Udupi Rasam Podi   This important masala is much used in Udupi cuisine for Rasams and for other types of dishes. It is easily made at home by our recipe Rasam Podi Udupi.
  9. Coconut Oil:   This oil, once condemned as a heart killer, is now recognized as outstandingly healthy. It is easily available in markets serving South and Southeast Asian communities, as well as from Yuppie outlets like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. For details see our Coconut Oil page.
  10. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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