Fresh Tomato Rasam with Leeks

fresh leeks
lovely late-summer leeks

I found these beautiful leeks in the market and could not resist them. I thought I might make a clear soup of leeks and carrots. I even went so far as to dice the carrots. But local tomatoes are finally on; after a couple of days of sitting on the counter, the luscious, vine-ripened tomatoes cried out to me:
“Put us into Indira’s Tomato Rasam“!
The leeks were crying too, so I put them in the soup in lieu of cilantro.

Fresh Tomato Rasam with Leeks
thanks to Indira for her technique and the basis of the recipe

3 large, red, ripe tomatoes
2 large leeks, washed well and sliced thin (white and light green parts only)
small ball of dried tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/2 c warm water

1/2 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp jaggery

1 c. water, divided

for tempering/tadka:

1/2 tsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
9-10 curry leaves

Wash the tomatoes well, remove the stem end and place in a saucepan.

Prepare the leeks:

Remove the first few dark green outer leaves and discard them. Now you can see where to cut off the top — make one cut across where the green begins to turn from yellowish to dark-green. The tops can be washed and saved to flavor vegetable stock. Now with the bottom part, cut crosswise from top nearly to root/bottom so the leek spreads open. Separating the leaves with your fingers, wash well under cold running water. Take your time here and be thorough — leeks grow in sand, and we don’t want any sand in teeth… yuck πŸ™‚

sliced leeks
sliced leeks, without sand

Once the leeks are well washed, cut off the root and slice them crosswise into thin pieces, as above. Add these to the tomatoes. Add the soaked tamarind and its soaking water, and squeeze all together with very clean hands. Add 1/2 c. water and heat over low heat just long enough to warm everything. Remove from the stove and when cool enough to handle, have at it again — as Indira says, “work those hand muscles”.

raw rasam
rasam before cooking

Once you have squeezed all you can, leave everything to settle 20-30 minutes, then strain into a clean pot. Press down on the solids in the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon or a small bowl to extract as much pulp and flavor as you can. Add 1 cup of the solids back to the liquid, making sure no tamarind seeds remain.

Grind the peppercorns and cumin seeds together and add to the pot along with jaggery, salt, and the last 1/2 c. water. Bring the rasam to a simmer, then pour on the hot tadka. Let it simmer 10-15 minutes before serving, if you can! The aroma may lure you in sooner. πŸ™‚

Fresh Tomato Rasam with Leeks

fresh tomato rasam with leeks served with Sri Ganeshram Appalam

As an aside — I am really excited about these pappadum/appalam!! Found them in the asian grocery on the shelf with all the bigger pappadum. Package said fry in oil, but I never follow directions (well, almost never…) so I popped one into the microwave. Sixty seconds later I had a light, crispy-warm pappadum with no added fat πŸ˜‰


crispy and light ~ microwaved pappadums



  1. Hi Linda, Visiting your blog for the first time—you have nice recipes here— and nice pictures—your blog looks colorful:)

    Hi Priya, and thank you — I enjoyed reading through your blog, too πŸ™‚

  2. Vaishali said

    That Rasam looks soooo soooo good, Linda. And a great idea to put leeks in it. You are creative, aren’t you?
    (Are we playing ‘You scratch my back, I scratch yours’, by the way?)

    I felt guilty not using those lovely leeks… it came out tasting ok! Now, who scratched first…

  3. vineela said

    Hi Linda,
    Nice hot rasam with leeks and papad.

    Thank you, Vineela! Curd rice turned out wonderfully, thanks for that too πŸ™‚

  4. Shankari said

    I guess the leeks add a crunch to the rasam, does it? I microwave the appalams too, sometimes I use pam spray before microwaving…
    U are 222222222222222 good

    Hi Shankari — oh, I am going to try that idea with Pam — thank you! Leeks remain a little crunchy, yes πŸ™‚

  5. Asha said

    Hi Linda, Leek Rasam !! That’s new and very creative to think about this combo. Good one!
    Thanks for visiting my blog. πŸ™‚ come again….

    I have you bookmarked, Asha — thank you very much πŸ™‚

  6. shilpa said

    The rasam looks great. I will give it a try.

    Hope you enjoy, Shilpa — I’ve really enjoyed your festival posts πŸ™‚

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