Charu or Rasam is such an integral part of any South Indian meal. Prepared with tomato and tamarind (sometimes with only either of these), this is the simplest accompaniment for rice. There are a number of variations of Rasam or Charu – Pepper Rasam, Tamarind Rasam, Lemon Rasam, Garlic Rasam, some fruit based Rasams like Pineapple Rasam and some really interesting ones like Betel Leaf Rasam!
Today’s recipe is another classic from my Mom’s kitchen. Ever since I have known, her Chaaru has been quite simple and one of the bests. Frankly, I have never been a fan of rasam growing up. The sister loves rasam and Amma always prepares some specially for her. It is not until recently, I started enjoying hot Charu. With hot rice, ghee and a bowl of hot rasam – you can pretty much land in food heaven. Oh yes, I forgot – potato roast! Nothing like the combo of hot rasam and roast potatoes 🙂 Rasam or Chaaru is an excellent meal option when you are down with fever/flu. Just when your tongue pretty much loses the sense of taste, rasam can help you get back on foot – especially if it is loaded with black peppercorns. Not only that, Rasam is really good for digestion too! My amma’s Charu has a hint of sweetness that I absolutely love. Sometimes, simple food is all you want and this recipe is right up that alley 🙂 What more, if you don’t wish to serve it up with rice – this can be served as a soup!
To make Tomato Charu | Thakkali Rasam | Andhra Charu Recipe
What I used –
To Make Chaaru Podi/Rasam Powder –
- Coriander Seeds, 1 tsp
- Cumin Seeds/Jeera, 1 tsp
- Black Peppercorns, ½ tsp
- Dried Red Chilli, 1 or 2
- Toor Dal, 1 tsp
To Make Charu/Rasam –
- Water, 2 cups or more
- Ripe Tomato, 1 medium
- Tamarind Pulp, ½ tsp
- Coriander Leaves, a few sprigs
- Curry Leaves, a few
- Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
- Ghee, 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
- Cumin Seeds/Jeera, ½ tsp
- Asafoetida, a generous pinch
- Sugar/Jaggery, ½ tsp
- Salt, as needed
How I made –
1. In a pan, dry roast all ingredients under “Chaaru podi/Rasam Powder” until good fragrance comes up. Let the mixture cool down. Blend it into a powder (coarse or smooth as needed). Set aside.
2. In a bowl, add chopped tomatoes. Add 2 cups of water. Add roughly torn coriander leaves (along with the stems) and curry leaves. Add turmeric powder, salt needed and sugar (if using).
3. Put this on the stove on medium flame. Add 1 tbsp of ground rasam powder and tamarind paste. Mix well. In a small pan, heat ghee. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. As they splutter, add the pinch of asafetida. Add this tempering to the Rasam. Let the Rasam/Charu come to a boil and keep cooking for 10-12 mins. When it is quite frothy and tomatoes are cooked, remove from heat.
4. Serve hot with rice, ghee and potato roast 🙂
- Either tomatoes or only tamarind can be used instead of both in this recipe. Use two tomatoes if skipping tamarind and use 1 tsp of tamarind paste if skipping tomatoes.
- Adding sugar is optional but gives a good taste to the Charu.
- Add Toor Dal in rasam powder helps in thickening the rasam.
- The quantities for rasam powder/charu podi would yield only about 1 tbsp of powder. Increase the measurements if making in big batch and store in air tight container.
- For Charu recipe, all ingredients are added to water including the tempering and then it is brought to a boil.
- Fresh coriander leaves and curry leaves are a must for good Charu. Coriander stalks have a lot of flavor and can be used for the recipe too.