Spicy Tomato and Tamarind Soup (Rasam)

In South India, rasam—the probable precursor to mulligatawny soup—is often served at the end of a meal.

Spicy Tomato and Tamarind Soup (Rasam)
In South India, this dish, called rasam—the probable precursor to mulligatawny soup—is often served at the end of a meal.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 12 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 40 fresh curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp. <a href="http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/Making-Tamarind-Extract">Tamarind Extract</a>
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 4 tsp. canola oil
  • 14 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 14 tsp. whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, and halved

Instructions

  1. Grind cumin seeds, peppercorns, and 20 of the curry leaves in a spice grinder. Set aside.
  2. Put tamarind extract, salt, and 1 quart water into a pot over medium-high heat and stir; bring to a boil. Add ground spices and tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop. Add, in quick succession, remaining 20 curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, and chiles and cook until fenugreek turns golden, 3–5 seconds. Pour spices and oil into soup. Serve at once.