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South Indian Tomato Rasam With Pink Lentils in a stainless steel vessel with a bowl of rice next to it
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4 from 4 votes

Simple South Indian Tomato Rasam With Pink Lentils

Learn to make the simplest South Indian Tomato Rasam using pink lentils. Vegan Rasam is a tangy tamarind based broth that's spicy & warming to the palette.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


To cook the Dal

To make Rasam

  • 1 lemon size tamarind or use 1/3 cup tamarind paste
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp rasam powder
  • salt as required
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves powder or 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped cilantro

For the Tadka


  • First step is to cook the lentils. This recipe calls for pink lentils also known as masoor dal. Pressure cook the lentils in turmeric + salt water along with ghee. Once cooked, mash it using a whisk and keep it aside.
  • If using fresh tamarind, then add it to a bowl of warm water and let it soak for 15 minutes. Then crush the soaked tamarind with fingers to extract the juice. Filter this juice into another vessel and repeat the same with the remains, 2-3 more times by adding them to fresh water and squeezing out the juice. But if you are using tamarind paste, add it along with the spices in the next step.
  • In a thick bottomed pan, add all the spices like salt, turmeric powder, rasam powder and asafoetida. Then add the tamarind juice, onions and tomatoes. Cook this on simmer for 7-8 minutes. 
  • Add the mashed lentils along with curry leaves powder and chopped cilantro. Stir and turn off the flame at the sign of first boil. Actually fresh curry leaves are preferred, but if you don't have that, then you can use curry leaves powder.
  • Now prepare for the tadka. Heat ghee in a tadka pan and once it's hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and slit green chillies. Once they crackle, take it off the flame and pour it over the rasam.
  • Serve it hot with some rice.


If you are vegan, skip the ghee and make it in cooking oil. 
If you prefer gluten-free food, then skip adding asafoetida.