Tomato Rasam

for the spice-herb mixture
⅓ cup coriander stems with or without leaves
7 to 8 medium sized garlic cloves
1 inch ginger , roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon black pepper
for tomato puree
3 large ripe, red and juicy tomatoes - 275 grams or 1.5 to 1.75 cups chopped tomatoes
for making tomato rasam
1 tablespoon oil - gingelly oil (sesame oil made from raw sesame seeds), sunflower oil or peanut oil can be used
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon urad dal (husked & split or whole black gram)
1 or 2 dry red chillies broken and seeds removed
1 pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 sprig of curry leaves or 10 to 12 curry leaves
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
salt as per taste
1.5 cups water or add as required
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)

making ground rasam mixture
take roughly chopped coriander stems with or without leaves (about a handful of coriander stems) in a blender or mixer jar. also add garlic cloves and roughly chopped ginger.
add cumin seeds and black pepper.
grind to a coarse paste. remove in a separate bowl or plate.
making tomato puree
in the same jar add the tomatoes (rinsed and chopped).
grind or blend to a smooth puree. if you want, you can blanch tomatoes and then puree them – for a bright red color in the rasam.
making tomato rasam
in a heavy pan or pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil. keep the flame to its lowest.
add ½ teaspoon mustard seed and let them begin to crackle.
when the mustard seeds start to crackle, then add ½ teaspoon urad dal.
stirring often fry urad dal till they turn golden.
now add 1 to 2 dry red chilies (halved and seeds removed) and 1 pinch asafoetida. in case the pan becomes hot, then switch off the flame.
stir and fry for a few seconds till red chilies change color.
add the coarsely ground coriander stems+ginger+garlic mixture and curry leaves. if the pan becomes too hot, then you can switch off the flame.
sauté for a minute on lowest flame taking care the mixture does not burn. you will get a nice aroma while sautéing this mixture.
add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
mix turmeric powder with the rest of the mixture.
now add the tomato puree. mix very well. take care as the mixture splutters.
sauté for a minute. season with salt as per taste.
then add 1.5 cups water. if you like a little thin tomato rasam, then you could add some more water. but do not add too much water as then the flavors get diluted.
mix well and simmer thakkali rasam on medium-low flame till the rasam comes to a boil.
overall simmer for 9 to 10 minutes.
finally switch off the flame and add 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. check the taste of tomato rasam and add more salt if required.
serve tomato rasam hot with rice and some pappadums.
Pic courtesy: Google
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