Updated: Nov 29, 2019
This is a tomato lentil soup that's called 'Rasam' or 'Chaaru' or 'Saaru' in south India - yes, it has a lot of names! It's traditionally eaten with basmati rice, but here we're going to use it for a warming, spicy, and savory oatmeal.
I'm a savory breakfast person because I grew up eating Indian breakfasts and most of them are quite salty and spicy. If you've ever had idli, dosa, or uttapam at a South Indian restaurant or household, you know what I'm talking about! This is why it's so hard for me to get on board with fruity or sweet oatmeal, which seems to be the only widely known vegan option here in the US.
I remember on the weekends, my mom would make a big batch of this so that we could heat it up with our oatmeal on busy weekday mornings. I loved it then and I still love it now. It was the perfect way to start my day and continues to be that way. Thank you, Mom! What a great idea.
This recipe is a quick blend and cook. If you have toor dal (pigeon peas/ lentils) cooked beforehand, this recipe is even easier. I like to just cook them in my Instant Pot with a 1:3 ratio for this dish, as it should be quite soupy/watery. I just cook on manual at high pressure for about 25 minutes to get them really nice and creamy. You can use a potato masher to mash them but it's not really required, as they'll likely dissolve into the rasam water anyway.
However, you can do this all in one go if you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker you are comfortable with. Just be sure to add the salt at the very end, after the lentils have fully cooked. Blend the rasam ingredients and then pour it into a pot with the oil, mustard seeds, and lentils (with at least another cup or two of water, since the lentils will absorb it).
You really don't even need to use the blender at all. I just prefer it because I don't like to throw away any of the flavorful ingredients (like curry leaves). If I blend them into it, I can maximize the flavor!
Here's the recipe:
2 tomatoes / 2 tbs tomato puree
10-12 curry leaves
1/8 tsp asafetida/ hing
1/4 tsp turmeric
2.5 tbs rasam powder
1 tbs tamarind paste
2-3 dry red chilies
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 cup cooked toor dal
salt (to taste)
fresh cilantro (to garnish)
1. Add the blender ingredients to your blender, starting with 1 cup of filtered water. Blend until smooth.
2. To a pot on medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil and the black mustard seeds until you hear them start to pop. Now pour in the toor dal and the blended mixture.
3. Put another 2 cups of water in your blender and whiz it up to scrape up all the goodness of that flavor. Pour this into the pot.
4. Let this rasam come to a nice rolling boil, and then simmer it for a good 10 minutes until the raw tomato flavor cooks out.
5. Keep in the fridge for 5 days.
Pour on top of your oats and let soak overnight (heat them up for around 1 minute in the morning) for a nice savory breakfast, or eat it with some basmati rice for dinner.