Tomato-Garlic Rasam from Nandyala

I left some of the harvested cherry tomatoes on the kitchen counter. Waited a week. When they ripened to deep red, soft to touch stage, I prepared one of my favorite tomato recipes, the traditional tomato-garlic rasam of Nandyala. The rasam has all the usual and lovable characters- the ripe tomatoes, garlic and Indian spices and no gimmicky substances like store-bought stock, ‘enriched’ flour or loads of butter. One thing the rasam demands is that we put some energy into it. No machines, just using our God-given hands. For the effort, the tomatoes richly reward us with their bold, exquisite essence making the rasam tasting a memorable experience.

Home-grown Cherry Tomatoes
Homegrown Cherry Tomatoes

Tomato Garlic Rasam from Nandyala
(for 2 to 4 meal portions)

Prepare the rasam only with burst on touch, water balloon like very ripe tomatoes.

Tomatoes: Take 10 very ripe cherry tomatoes or 2 vine-ripe tomatoes in a big bowl. Chop them coarsely into the bowl. Add a tablespoon of tamarind pulp and a fistful of fresh cilantro leaves. Add a cup of water. Using your clean hand, gently squeeze the ingredients together to extract the juicy essence. Pull up a chair, sit and patiently do it at least for five minutes to bring out the best. Pour the juice through a filter into a bowl, repeat the process one more time and discard the squeezed out pulp.

Garlic : In a mortar, (no blenders, please) take a peeled, plump garlic clove. Add 4 cloves, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, quarter teaspoon each – cumin seeds and black peppercorn. With a pestle, crush the ingredients to smooth paste without adding any water.

Tomato-Garlic Rasam: Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a vessel. Add and toast a sprig of curry leaves, a pinch of cumin seeds to fragrance. Add the tomato juice from step 1 and garlic-spice paste from step 2. Sprinkle a quarter teaspoon each- turmeric and salt. Stir in a tablespoon of crushed jaggery and a cup of water. Mix well. Bring the rasam to boil and then simmer for about five minutes.

Serve the tomato-garlic rasam warm in a bowl. Bursting with tomato essence and in bold red, the rasam is great to sip on its own or to eat with cooked rice.

Tomato Garlic Rasam
A Bowl of Tomato-Garlic Rasam ~ for Meal Today


  • By Kiran, June 3, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    Tomato rasam looks very comforting.One of my favorite way to make rasam.That too the flavor of home grown tomatoes makes it more delicious.

  • By Sonia, June 3, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

    Indira, I love the traditional recipes of India. No matter how long and intimidating process it is! :)
    The color of rasam speaks loudly your efforts you have put in here.

  • By Manju Rajender, June 3, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

    Beautiful !!! My mom-in-law prepares this way but adds ginger, garlic paste…could you imagine !!! But that tastes yummmyyyy. I loved that rich red colour of your rasam preparation. Lycopene rich, anti-oxidant rich, spicy, tasty rasam :)

  • By Hari Chandana, June 4, 2010 @ 4:51 am

    Hello Indira garu,

    Idi na favorite dish.. looks perfect and tempting.. I smell the aroma here.. have rice, tomato rasam with vadiyalu.. Aaahh.. you will be just before the doors of heaven.. hmmm I can feel that.. Simple and superb snaps.. Thanks for sharing.. :)

  • By Kay, June 4, 2010 @ 6:17 am

    Nothing like a rasam made from homegrown tomatoes!! Can’t wait for mine to grow up soon! :)

  • By Ranjan, June 4, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    Indira, I love your other tomatoe rasam as well with tamarid ang jaggery, I must try this one, sounds yummy!

  • By vrinda, June 4, 2010 @ 6:33 am

    Perfect comfort food n gr8 flavors..

  • By Malar Gandhi, June 4, 2010 @ 7:16 am

    Lovely rasam, perfect comfort food’

  • By Sandhya, June 4, 2010 @ 7:25 am

    what a beautiful and evocative description! thank you.

  • By Lori, June 4, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    What a lovely post (as usual!) Will have a long wait for my tomatoes to ripen. It’s been a wet cold summer so far in Seattle. Sigh. I am saving this recipe for August. Thank you. :O)

  • By Durga, June 4, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    Sounds just like the recipe I’ve been searching for. My hubby’s aunt used to make it when he visited in summer. And i never tasted it to replicate the taste. But thanks to you, I can make it now. Thanks again.

  • By rashmi, June 4, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

    wow…nice one…

  • By Anita, June 4, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

    Looks so nice, picture of tomatoes are so perfect.

  • By Indira, June 4, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    Thanks all for your rasa-licious comments. This rasam with ripe tomatoes is a family favorite. Hope you too get a chance to make and enjoy.

  • By ss, July 3, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    I tried your rasam Indira. It was the absolute best recipe i have ever tasted. Even my picky husband loved it! The only variation i did was leave the pulp in without filtering it and added only 1 clove instead of 4 (i have never used cloves in rasam, so i was not brave enough to add four). Not one drop remains, i am going to make it again tomorrow! You are the best :-)

  • By Akhila, November 9, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

    Q: After the first strain through, do I have to add water again and squeeze out the tomato or do I just squeeze without water. I know it is a very basic question, hoping you can help.

    Beginner cook!

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