This is a traditional South Indian tomato soup called 'Rasam' or pepper water. It is dense with spices and can be made as hot as you wish.

Ingredients (14 qts)
  • ~40 pounds tomatoes; peeled, seeded & chopped
  • ½ cup fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cumin seeds
  • ½ cup mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup heeng**
  • 80 dried red chilies
  • 150 fresh curry leaves (50 dried)
  • ½ cup turmeric
  • 80 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ~5 cup lemon juice

**Also known as hing or asafoetida.

  1. Add the tomatoes to a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until quite thick (tomato juice consistency).
  3. While the tomatoes are reducing, fry the dried red chilies until they turn black. Add to the pot.
  4. Fry garlic until fragrant but not brown. Add to the pot.
  5. Fry the cumin seeds and mustard seeds until the begin popping. Add to the pot.
  6. If you are using dried curry leaves fry them until they darken then add to the pot. Fresh curry leaves can be added directly.
  7. Add the heeng powder and ground black pepper to the pot.
  8. Continue to cook down. This may take several hours!
  9. Pour the soup through a strainer to strain out the solids. Return to heat and bring to a boil.
  10. While bringing the soup back to a boil, add the lemon juice. This is a personal choice. Traditionally Rasam is quite sour. Add 1 cup, taste and adjust.
  11. Fill your jars leaving a 1" headspace.
  12. Process jars in a water bath for 20 minutes.

    The number of dried red chilies you use controls the resultant heat. Experiment to get the hotness you want.

    Straining the solids out of the soup is optional, traditionally the soup is not strained.

    This can be used in a variety of ways. We eat this as a soup, straight. We also use this when we make chili, the spices really increase the overall flavor. This can also be used as your liquid when making a pot roast.

    One friend heats it up and pours it over pasta. Anyway you choose to use it, it will be delicious.