Ginger – 3 inches peeled and cut into pieces
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp (or 1 tbsp powdered cumin)
Green Chillies – 3 (or hot peppers – 3)
Ripe tomatoes – 2 small or 1 large
Water – 4 cups
Ghee – 2 tsps
Mustard – 1 tsp
Juice of 1 large lemon
Asafoetida – 2 pinches (powdered)
Cilantro – 1 tbsp (chopped)
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Fresh mint leaves – 1 tsp chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried mint leaves)
1. Roast cumin seeds in a thick bottomed pan for a few seconds to warm then. You can avoid this step if using powdered cumin
2. Grind tomatoes, ginger, chillies, cumin into a fine paste using some water.
3. Add 1 cup of water to this paste and bring to a boil in a stock pot (at least 1qt capacity) . This needs to boil well and reduce till the raw smell dissappears and you get a nice aroma.
4. Add the remaining 3 cups of water and salt and reduce the heat to a simmer.
5. Add the finely chopped mint leaves or the crushed dry mint when the rasam starts to froth up.
6. Once the rasam starts bubbling, turn off the heat and add finely chopped cilantro.
7. Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a thich bottom pan. Add mustard seeds and once it splatters add asofoetida. Pour this over the rasam.
8. Roll the lemon with your hand applying pressure before juicing. Squeeze out the juice over a strainer into the rasam.
9. Mix well and close the stock pot to keep the aroma locked in.
If you are having this as a soup, skip step 7 and reduce chillies to 1 or 2 depending on how hot you like it. Rasam is usually watery and can be served as an appetizer.