Lemon Rasam (Lemon Tomato Soup)

Eiya Sombu Rasam (Rasam in Lead Vessel)

Rasam is one of the very well known dishes of South India. I’ve had so many friends ask me about making rasam to eat with rice or to drink it as a soup(appetizer). As winter approaches, the tendency to make spicy hot rasam is always there. Rasam is also easy digested during cold or flu.  Add some garlic to the rasam to make it more flavorful for a sore throat remedy.

For some specific dishes I use specific utensils. Like Eyya sombu (Eiya  sombu- lead vessel) for rasams, uruli(bronze vessel) for upmas etc., There is still a lot of debate on using lead coated vessels in cooking. Though Im told that Eiya sombu is not made of the harmful lead that is used in paints and has been banned, its got another variety of lead that is good to use.

The eiya sombu I have is not the traditional vessel made entirely of lead. Mine has a inner layer of lead and outer layer of stainless steel. You can see my “used so many times” and sad looking eiya sombu in the photo. The main points to remember when using lead vessel are:

1) Always add salt before even thinking of heating the vessel with any liquid. If you are asking yourself what major disaster can happen?……
With no salt and no water in the vessel, lead is going to melt the minute it sits on the hot stove. By the time you keep the empty vessel on stove, heat it and turn around to fetch water from the sink…and turn back..there will be no vessel to pour the water in..

2) Never boil liquids which are of smaller volume. Add water atleast to the 3/4th level of the eiya sombu

3) Never keep this vessel on high heat. Tasty rasam comes with patience so keep it in medium heat and cover. Covering the pot ensures concentrated  flavors.

4)Dont ever saute anything in this lead vessel. Use another pan. Keep this vessel only to make rasam and stick to that.

Now to the recipe:
Serves 2 people

Ingredients :

Ripe, Big tomato- 1

Green chilies- 2

Rasam powder- 1/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp

Salt- 1 tsp

Cooked tuvar dal- 1/2 cup

Black Pepper powder- 1/4 tsp

Garlic cloves(optional) 2-3

Water- 3 cups

For garnish:

Ghee- 1 tbsp

Jeera(cumin seeds)- 1 tsp

Hing- 1 pinch

Curry leaves- 4

Cilantro leaves- 1 tbsp

Lemon juice- 2 tbsp or juice of one lemon depending on how much lemon taste you like


(For both eiya sombu or regular vessel to make rasam)

Add salt to the eiya sombu if you are using that to make rasam before anything else.

Chop the tomato into cubes. You can also slightly mash the tomato if you want add the taste of the tomato juice instead of chopping.

Add rasam powder, slit green chilies, turmeric powder,garlic cloves,water and bring it to a boil(about 10-15 minutes).

Mash the boiled tuvar dal with 2 cups of water.

Once the water in the lead vessel has reduced to half of the original volume,  add mashed tuvar dal and pepper powder. Check if salt is enough.

Let it simmer for another 5 minutes till the dal turns frothy on top of the vessel.

Switch off and garnish with cilantro leaves.

In another tadka pan add ghee and heat. Add jeera seeds and when they splutter add hing and curry leaves. Pour  this sizzling tadka over rasam. Squeeze some lemon juice to the rasam and mix well. Serve hot with rice and side dishes. My favorite combination is rasam and Ennai Kathirkai kari.

I would like to send this Eiya Sombu Lemon rasam to WYF Specialty food event.

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4 Comments to “Lemon Rasam (Lemon Tomato Soup)”

  1. EC says:

    My mom used to make rasam in this utensil earlier..No idea if she is using it now also..anyways the taste is always different when prepared in this vessel..thanks for participating

  2. Asha says:

    So cute! Love the orange color, wish I had that color. My husband dislikes white pots and pans, it reminds him of hospitals (being a doc, he doesn’t want to see mpre white at home too!:D). Your dad has good taste. Lovely Rasam.

  3. Jayasri says:

    Hi, Ruchika,
    I was looking at your recipes and this caught my eyes!!, Iya sombu, which I had never known before was introduced to me by my SIL, her mother cooked rasam in it and served me!!, Now I know I bought one, next time when I go to India I have to search for it, as it tasted different cooked in that sombu!!

  4. Sriya says:

    The eiya sombu is made of tin not lead. Lead is very poisonous where as tin has good properties.

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