Recommended Equipment:

mortar and pestle


1 ¾ cup water

5 tamarinds, peeled

2 garlic cloves

1 tspn peppercorns, ground

3/4 tspn cumin

1 red chili pepper, dry

1/2  12-oz. can tomato sauce

1/4 tspn turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 tbsp cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

2 curry leaves, dried

1/2 tspn mustard seeds

1/4 tspn cumin seeds


  1. In a medium sized bowl, soak the tamarind in the water for 15 minutes (until it is soft).
  2. Add the garlic, cumin, and peppercorns to the mortar and mash together using the pestle.
  3. In a separate bowl, add 1/4 cup of water and the garlic, cumin, and peppercorns.  
  4. Squeeze the tamarins in the bowl in which they are soaking.  Using a strainer, pour the tamarind liquid into the bowl containing the garlic, cumin, and peppercorn mixture.  Reserve the tamarind husk in the original bowl and add 1/2 cup of water and let soak.
  5. Add 1/4 tspn of turmeric to the rasam.
  6. Strain the remaining 1/2 cup tamarind water into the rasam.
  7. Mince the red chili pepper and add it to the rasam.
  8. Add the tomato sauce to the rasam.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add 3/4 tbsp cilantro to the rasam.
  11. Pour the rasam into a pot and cook over medium heat until it begins to boil.  Then reduce heat to simmer.
  12. Add 1 tbsp canola  oil to a small skillet over medium heat.
  13. When oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  When the seeds begin to pop, place a lid on the skillet until the popping stops - about 3 minutes.
  14. Add the curry leaves and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.  Then add to the rasam and serve.