Kerala rasam recipe

Easy Tomato Kerala Rasam Recipe Style (Step by Step)

This Kerala Rasam recipe is a staple in the local cuisine, and I’m excited to share how to make it.

In the lush greenery of Kerala, the Onam Sadya is a spectacle of flavors, where a Kerala Rasam takes center stage with its unique flavor, an integral part of the South Indian meal draped over a banana leaf. It’s more than just a spicy soup; it’s a testament to tradition.

The Mysore Rasam, a different version of Rasam, carries a legacy as rich as the coconut oil used in its preparation, a good option for those seeking comfort in a cup of water infused with spices.

Amidst South Indian cuisine, the Kerala Thakkali Rasam, known for its medicinal properties, is a warm invitation to embrace the comfort of home cooking.

Not just an easy rasam recipe but a celebration of the senses, marrying the tang of tamarind water with the aromatic splutter of mustard seeds in a saucepan over a medium flame.

It’s not merely food; it’s an experience, a quick recipe that doesn’t require much time yet delivers a hearty dose of nostalgia.

In a land where curry leaves whisper secrets to coriander leaves and where turmeric powder colors every memory, the quest for the perfect rasam is a journey through different ways of blending spices.

One may dry roast coriander seeds to create a rasam podi that speaks of the earth and skies or soak tamarind to extract the right balance of sourness. Each household’s rasam variety speaks a dialect of love, whether it be the comforting Rasam or the spicy Saaru recipe.

For those less acquainted with the intricacies of the South Indian soup style, instant rasam recipes have become a beacon of hope. They carry within them the essence of a long time spent over a low flame, where dry red and green chilies dance in hot oil and fenugreek seeds join in harmony with a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

The Thakkali Rasam recipe, a darling of Kerala Rasam recipes, does not hide behind the curtain of complexity; instead, it takes a bow in the spotlight for its straightforwardness and health benefits.

With step pictures or a video recipe guiding the process, even cooking experiments lead to success. The comforting dal rasam, or the vibrant tamarind pulp-based rasam, tells a story of the Indian states, their cultures, and their communal pots stirring over a fire.

A good rasam transcends the need for a side dish; it stands alone, its nice flavor a rich tapestry of the whole spices that simmer within—black peppercorns, dry red chilies, and a tsp of coriander powder coming together in a symphony.

But the instant Kerala-style rasam recipe, be it made with instant rasam powder or tamarind extract, is not the first part of a meal but an encore, leaving a taste that lingers much like the memory of a well-spent day.

While some may argue that the right rasam takes cups of water and a total time that no quick recipe can match, the South Indian Rasam recipes offer a comforting rebuttal—quick, delicious, and imbued with the soul of a land that treats food as a form of prayer.

Yet, for all the savory tang and spice, let’s not forget the ice cream, a sweet endnote to a melody that began with a teaspoon of mustard seeds and a tsp of oil, proving that South Indian cuisine, like any great story, has both its highs and lows, its intensity and its mellow afternoons under a shade of curry leaves.

Tomato Kerala Rasam Recipe

Tomato kerala rasam being lifted from a brass bowl, with droplets mid-air, capturing the dynamic motion.

Savor the zest of Kerala with this Tomato Kerala Rasam recipe! A tangy and tantalizing soup that comforts the soul and tickles the palate. Perfect as a light lunch or a soothing supper, this rasam is a vibrant bowl of health, tradition, and flavor. The beauty of the Kerala Rasam recipe lies in its simplicity and depth of flavor.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Resting Time: 5 minutes

Meal Type: Appetizer / Soup

Country/Region: Kerala, South India

Diet: Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Vegan (if substituting ghee with oil)

Equipment Needed:

  • Medium Saucepan
  • Small Frying Pan
  • Pestle and Mortar (for crushing spices)
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • Garlic Press (optional)
  • Strainer
  • Serving Bowl


Every ingredient in this Kerala Rasam recipe brings a unique taste and health benefits.

  • 1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 cups water (divided as 1 cup and 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste, diluted in ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons instant Kerala rasam powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil for a vegan option
  • Salt to taste


Following this Kerala Rasam recipe, you’ll learn traditional cooking techniques.

  1. Prepare the tamarind water by dissolving 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste in ½ cup warm water. Strain through a sieve to remove solids and set the liquid aside.
  2. Take a medium saucepan and add 1 cup of water and chopped tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. To the boiling tomatoes, add the tamarind water, minced garlic, Kerala rasam powder, and turmeric powder. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Reduce the heat, allowing the concoction to simmer. Add the remaining 2 cups of water and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and the tamarind has lost its raw smell.
  5. While the base simmers, place a small frying pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. When hot, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds.
  6. Wait for the tsp of mustard seeds to start to splutter, then add in the 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds along with the crushed black peppercorns and the dry red chilies. Sauté the spices until they are fragrant, and the mustard seeds have popped, typically about a minute or two.
  7. Carefully pour the spiced oil (tempering) into the simmering saucepan of rasam.
  8. Stir in the curry leaves and season with salt to your taste. Allow the rasam to simmer for another 5 minutes so the flavors can fully develop.
  9. After turning off the heat, cover the saucepan and give the rasam a rest for 5 minutes. This helps to intensify and meld the flavors together.
  10. Finally, ladle the rasam into bowls and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve this aromatic and comforting Tomato Kerala Rasam hot, either as a standalone soup or over rice as a traditional South Indian meal. Enjoy your homemade Kerala culinary delight!

Serving Suggestions:

  • As Soup: Serve the Tomato Kerala Rasam in bowls as a starter to stimulate the digestive system before a meal.
  • With Rice: Pour the rasam over steamed rice and enjoy it as a light and comforting main course. To truly appreciate this Kerala Rasam recipe, serve it with rice or as a soup.
  • As a Drink: Sip the rasam from a cup to enjoy its warming and digestive properties, especially during cooler weather or if you’re feeling under the weather.
A clear glass of tomato kerala rasam, garnished with a sprig of fresh coriander leaves and a thin slice of lemon on the rim, set against a rustic stone backdrop.


  • If you have extra time and want to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes, roast them before chopping and adding to the water. Roasting deepens the flavors and adds a subtle smokiness to the rasam.
  • The level of spiciness in rasam is adjustable. The heat comes from black peppercorns and dry red chilies. Use less for a milder version, or add more if you prefer a spicier soup.
  • Making your own Kerala rasam powder can be rewarding and allows for customization. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chilies, and a pinch of fenugreek seeds until fragrant, then grind them into a fine powder.
  • For those who follow a vegan diet, ensure that the rasam powder you use is free from animal-derived ingredients. Substitute ghee with coconut or vegetable oil when preparing the tempering.
  • Rasam is known for its health benefits, including aiding digestion and relieving cold symptoms due to its hot and spicy nature.

This Kerala Rasam recipe is versatile and can be adapted to include your favorite spices. Enjoy your homemade Tomato Kerala Rasam as a quintessential part of your South Indian culinary journey!

FAQ on Kerala Rasam Recipes

Can I use garlic cloves in an instant rasam recipe?

👉 Absolutely! Garlic cloves are a great addition to an instant rasam recipe, providing depth and warmth. Just crush a few cloves and add them to the saucepan as the spices splutter.

How much cumin should I use for a Kerala rasam recipe?

👉 A teaspoon of cumin seeds is typical for a Kerala rasam recipe. You can adjust it according to your taste, but generally, a teaspoon is enough to infuse the rasam with its distinct aroma.

Is it necessary to use a full cup of water when dissolving tamarind paste?

👉 Yes, using a cup of water to dissolve the tamarind paste is standard. It helps to create the right consistency and balance the flavors when mixed with the other ingredients in the saucepan.

What’s the best way to incorporate tamarind paste into the rasam?

👉 Stir the tamarind paste into warm water until fully dissolved before adding it to the other ingredients. This helps ensure that the tamarind is evenly distributed throughout the rasam.

Can I make a Kerala rasam without tamarind juice?

👉 While tamarind juice is traditional, you can substitute it with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar for tanginess if you’re in a pinch. However, the unique flavor of tamarind is part of what makes a Kerala rasam recipe authentic.

What differentiates an instant tomato rasam recipe from normal rasam recipes?

👉 An instant tomato rasam recipe is designed for quick preparation, using ripe tomatoes for a fresh, tangy base and often incorporating ready-made rasam powder. It usually skips the step of making a base from soaked tamarind, saving time without compromising flavor.

How long should I let mustard seeds splutter for a delicious rasam?

👉 Mustard seeds usually take 2-3 minutes to spit in hot oil. It’s an essential step to release their pungent flavor before adding them to the rasam.

Do I need to use ripe tomatoes for my rasam?

👉 Yes, ripe tomatoes are preferred because they break down easily and offer a natural sweetness and acidity foundation for a good rasam.

What consistency should the spices be in for a rasam recipe?

👉 Spices of rasam should be in a coarse powder form if you’re making the rasam powder from scratch. This texture adds a more rustic flavor to the rasam varieties.

How many cups of water do I need for a traditional Kerala rasam?

👉 Typically, you would need 2-4 cups of water for a Kerala rasam, depending on how thick or thin you prefer the soup.

What if I only have red chili powder instead of red chili powder?

👉 Red chili powder and red chili powder are the same, just different spellings based on regional variations in English so that you can use them interchangeably in your rasam recipe. If your Kerala Rasam recipe isn’t tangy enough, add more tamarind paste.

Has uluva podi ever been used in rasam recipes?

👉 Uluva podi, or fenugreek powder, is sometimes used in rasam recipes. It gives the rasam a slightly bitter edge and is known for its health benefits.

Can I prepare rasam without a saucepan?

👉 A saucepan is ideal for making rasam because it distributes heat evenly, but if you don’t have one, any deep cooking pot will do the job.

Remember, the key to a delicious rasam lies in the balance of tanginess from the tamarind, heat from the peppers, and the aromatic flavors from the mustard and cumin seeds.

Enjoy your meal, and remember that this Kerala Rasam recipe is more than just a dish; it’s a journey through Kerala’s culinary traditions.

Fact check using government nutritional websites

Kalyana rasam, a unique variation of rasam in Tamil Brahmin cuisine, is made using freshly ground spices and tomatoes, offering a simple, mild, and tangy flavor​ 1​.

Another mention of rasam comes from a compilation of traditional food recipes from Ayush Systems, which lists different types of rasam like Mamsa Rasam and Kulattha Rasam​ 2​.

Tamil Nadu cuisine, as described in Indian Culture, includes rasam with various spices such as tamarind, coriander, and chili pepper​3​. In Andhra cuisine, Charu, a version of rasam, is typically brewed out of tamarind and spices​4​.

Born and raised in a family of foodies, Georgia’s passion for cuisine was nurtured from a young age as she learned the intricacies of flavor and texture from her grandmother’s kitchen. As an adult, this early fascination blossomed into a full-fledged love affair with the culinary world.

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