Monday, November 02, 2015

A Rough Guide to a Tomato Soup

We could have grown up eating/drinking something but never have had more than a vague idea, if that, about what went into its making. Despite cooking for myself ever since I set up home, there are some things that I haven't made very often with success. I usually try them, give up, don't attempt it for years, then try again, give up, don't attempt ... you see the pattern emerging. Along the way, I even forget this particular dish exists, unless I have it somewhere else, or someone asks me to make it, which is when I make another supreme effort, and end up with a decent or even winning formula. This tomato chaaru/ rasam/ soup is one such.

Earlier this year, my niece and her parents came to spend a week with me in the summer. My
sister-in-law said my niece had liked the tomato chaaru her aunt in Hyderabad had made and that she would likely relish another bout of it. How did that aunt make it? What followed was a rough guide - a little bit of this and that and that. Since the summer, I have evolved my own prescription for it and I am glad to say I have arrived at a combination of ingredients that makes a flavourful, spicy, thin soup, just the way I like it.

You will need

Tart tomatoes (I use the country/naatu varieties, you can add a few hybrid ones for their
colour)- 8-12
Shallots/onion, chopped - about 1 tbsp
Tamarind - 3-5 pieces, soaked just enough to be moistened
Green chillies - 2-3
Salt - about a teaspoon of iodised salt, to begin with
Cloves - 2-3
Garlic, smashed, without skin - 3-5
Pepper, powdered - 1/2 -1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Jeera powder - 0.75 tsp
Curry leaves
Coriander - a big handful, chopped roughly

Make a plus sign in the tomatoes and boil them in water till the skins burst and you can peel
them off easily once they cool.

Puree them smoothly.

Add all the ingredients mentioned, except the coriander, as much water to thin down the puree as you like it, and boil very, very, very well.

Keep tasting it as you go along and add more salt or the other powders if it doesn't taste
quite right. If this is the first time you're making this and wonder what you should look for,
look for a slightly sour but mostly spicy taste.

Once you decide you are done with it and take it off the stove and transfer it to a serving
dish, add the chopped coriander and cover it. You can savour it in a cup, or eat it with rice
and papads, or sauteed/fried vegetables, or even kheema (minced lamb).


  1. Hey Sra,

    My mum's method of tomato saaru is very similar except for she doesn't blanch them but directly puree roughly cut raw tomatoes along with tamarind, salt and all the spices. Then just boil it and put tadka on top. Doesn't it feel so good when we suddenly remember a recipe and make after many years. It happens to me all the time and I also happen to remember the disasters pretty vividly then successes. ;-)

    Hope all is well..


    1. Siri, that's real simple! I wish I had thought of this, I will make it this way soon!

  2. Thanks for sharing such a nice recipe. I just love Tomato soup and have in my daily intake. I used to prepare it bit differently but yesterday I tried your way and really it tasted good.

    1. Glad to know it worked for you, Misty!

  3. I've lost so many good recipes this way - never going back to them till too late. It's soup season and a bowl of saaru ought to be nice.

    1. It is, and it's good with rice and kheema on the side too


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