Christine Manfield's Tomato Rasam

This is the quintessential comfort food of southern India. A tangy and light peppery broth famous for its rejuvenating and digestive properties, it’s ideal to serve in any season for its refreshing flavour.

Serves 6
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegetarian


1 cup toor dal (yellow split lentils), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
8 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tinned tomato puree (not to be confused with paste)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
12 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon asafoetida
2 teaspoons jaggery or palm sugar, shaved
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 small dried chillies
2 teaspoons toor dal (yellow split lentils)


To make the rasam powder, place all the ingredients in a spice grinder and grind to make a fine powder. Set aside. You will only need 2 tablespoons of the powder for this recipe. Store the remainder in an airtight container.

Cook the soaked dal in a pot of salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomatoes in a food processor and blend to make a puree. Pass through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. Add the tinned tomato puree to the fresh puree and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and curry leaves and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the tomato puree, salt, turmeric, asafoetida, palm sugar, ginger and 2 tablespoons of rasam powder and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cooked dal and lime juice, stir to combine, and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from heat, check seasoning and adjust with salt, if necessary. Top with chopped coriander to serve.