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Pratibha's Tomato Rasam

Indian Tomato Soup with Roasted Chana Dal


  • 5-6 big fresh red tomatoes (canned tomatoes can be used, but it won’t taste as good as fresh ones)
  • 1˝ tbsp rasam powder1
  • 3˝ tbsp powdered roasted chana dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp oil (can use olive oil, but works best with peanut or sesame seed oil)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1-2 dry red chillies
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves
  • A pinch asafoetida (optional, but the flavor is really good with it)

1Rasam powder: On a medium flame, dry roast ˝ tsp fenugreek seeds until golden, add 1˝ tbsp chana dal and roast a further 3-4 minutes, add 1˝ tbsp yellow split lentil and roast for 3-4 minutes, then add 1-2 dry red chillies, and finally add 2 tbsp coriander seeds and roast for 2-3 minutes. Dry grind to a powder. Can be stored for more than a month in an airtight jar.


  • Boil the tomatoes until soft (best done in a closed pan). Mash the cooked tomatoes properly and run through a sieve (not too fine but a pasta sieve works well). Discard the skin and seeds and use only the thick juice. Add the rasam powder and salt. In a large pan heat oil and add cumin, mustard, red chillies, aasafoetida, and curry leaves till the mustard and cumin seeds start sputtering. Now pour in the tomato mixture and bring to boil on medium to low heat. Add the roasted chana dal powder and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes. This can be eaten either with fluffed raw rice, soft brown bread, or as a soup on chilly days.


Contributed by Pratibha Anand in Gothenburg, Sweden, via email.

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Last modified: July 14, 2005

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