Tomato Rasam

You need: 4-5 large tomatoes, rasam podi, 1/2 tsp haldi (tumeric), salt to taste. For tempering (tadka): 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson/kadagu), 3-4 curry leaves (kadipatta/karuvapilai), 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera/jeeragam), 1 tsp ghee.

How to: Chop the tomatoes and boil them in 4-5 cups water until soft. Mash them well. Add salt, turmeric, and 1 heaped tsp rasam podi, mix well, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add all the tempering spices and let them sputter. Pour into the rasam and stir well. Eat with rice and dal.

Ammamma’s Pachai Rasam Podi

My grandmother was a truly incredible cook. She’s been gone nearly ten years, but my mother (finally!) gave me her rasam podi recipe yesterday. It’s “pachai” (green/fresh) because it’s not roasted before grinding. It makes about 4-5 tsps.

You need: 1 heaped tbsp of dhania dana (coriander seeds/kothamali verai), 3-4 dried red chilies (vatha molaga), 1 tsp peppercorns (molagu), 1.5 tsp arhar dal.

How to: Grind it all together into a fine powder. Add 1-1.5 tsp to 4-5 cups rasam.