I’m absolutely delighted to be sharing this top secret recipe from the kitchen of one of my favorite restaurants, Dosa. I recently highlighted this recipe in an article I wrote about lentils and their health benefits for Edible SF, where you can read more about the soup.
Dosa owner Anjan Mitra is very protective of his recipes and I am eternally grateful to him for sharing this one for rasam, a spicy lentil soup. If you have a minute please stop by and thank him on Twitter (@dosasf) and Facebook.
If you’ve never explored Indian cooking, it’s a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with new spices and feel like a culinary badass. These recipes never cease to impress, and as much as I adore (and rely on) simple recipes, it’s fun to try something a little more challenging every now and then.
The hardest part of this recipe will be tracking down some of the more elusive ingredients. While the majority of the spices can be found at a regular grocery store, a few ingredients may require a trip to an Indian grocery or specialty store. For more info on the ingredients, check out my last article on rasam ingredients.
A few notes before you begin:
- You’ll need a spice grinder. A coffee grinder will work, but you’ll need to clean it well before using it again for coffee.
- Curry leaves are not necessary if you can’t locate them, but do not attempt to substitute curry powder.
- The better quality tomatoes you use, the better the recipe will turn out.
- This is meant to be spicy, but you can adjust the spice level depending on your tolerance by switching up the type and number of chilies you use.
- The lentils and the tamarind each require a 1 hr soak before cooking, so plan accordingly.
- Since some of the ingredients are difficult to find, once you have them you can make a large batch and freeze the rest in quart-sized containers.
Dosa’s Rasam “Fire Broth” Recipe
© DOSA May not be copied or distributed without prior written permission
Approximately 8 portions. Naturally vegan & gluten-free.
- 1/2 c. Toor dal (lentils) aka Pigeon Peas, available at most Indian grocery stores
- 4 Organic red tomatoes cut and blended
- 1 1/2 sq. inch Tamarind pulp (usually sold in blocks)
- 1/2 Organic lemon
- 1/4 c. Chopped cilantro
- 6 Cloves of garlic
- 5 Dried red chilies
- 6-8 Fresh curry leaves (leave out if you can’t find them, do not use “curry powder”)
- 4 tsp Cumin seeds
- 3 tsp Whole black peppercorns
- 4 tsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1/8 tsp Asafetida (This stuff is very potent so don’t overdo it. Gluten-free versions with rice-flour are available.)
- 10-11 c. Water
- 1-2 tbsp Oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup of water for 1 hour.
- Soak to the Toor Dal in 1 cup of water for 1 hour.
- Add 5 additional cups to the Toor dal and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on a medium flame or until grains are very soft and blending with the water. (Note from Darya: this took closer to 30 minutes for me)
- Let it cool for 5 mins, then blend the Toor dal with the water. (Note from Darya: a hand blender works well)
- Crush whole garlic and grind into a paste (Note from Darya: use mortar and pestle or back of wooden spoon)
Powdered Spice Mixture
- Grind cumin, peppercorn and coriander seeds. It can stay relatively coarse, but should be fine enough to drink in the soup.
- You can use a coffee grinder, however, be sure to clean it thoroughly after use.
- Cut and blend the tomatoes into a pulp. (Note from Darya: use a food processor or blender)
**Have all your ingredients ready since some of these steps are relatively quick
- Add a minimal amount of oil to coat the bottom of a soup pot. Turn to medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, dried red chiles and curry leaves.
- Keep stirring for about 2 minutes. You’ll get the aromatic flavors of these ingredients.
- Add asafetida and keep stirring for another 30 seconds. This has a very strong aroma of onion and garlic so make sure you don’t add too much.
- Add turmeric and crushed garlic paste. Lower the flame slightly and keep stirring to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn. Stir for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the raw garlic flavor has dissipated.
- Add the fresh tomato pulp.
- Add tamarind pulp with the water in which it’s been soaking.
- Stir and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on a medium flame.
- Add the powdered spice mixture.
- Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a medium flame.
- Stir intermittently. You’ll notice the aromatic flavors of the spices.
- Add the blended Toor dal (lentil) and stir.
- Add remaining water about 2 to 3 cups. You can add more or less water depending on how thin or thick you would like the soup. It’s flavorful enough to be served relatively thin.
- Add cilantro.
- Add salt.
- Squeeze 1/2 an organic lemon.
- Simmer for 10 minutes and stir intermittently. Do NOT boil or cook. When it starts to froth you’re done.
- Check salt and add to taste if needed. (Note from Darya: I added an extra 1/4 tsp to get the same taste as at the restaurant)
- This nutritious and flavorful soup has a grainy and coarse texture as a result of the coarsely blended spices.
- Stir the pot before ladling the soup into a cup as the spices will settle to the bottom.
- Serve hot and garnish with cilantro.
- It can be drunk straight from a cup or even eaten with rice.
- You won’t even notice it’s vegan and gluten-free!
HUGE thanks to Anjan and Dosa for sharing this amazing recipe.