No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Tangy Tomatillo Lemon Rasam.

Tangy Tomatillo Lemon Rasam.
Tangy Tomatillo Lemon Rasam.

Cold weather and rains always make me remember Comfort Foods….Foods that have been a part of our growing up, something that I always took for granted for a long long time. When I went to stay in the hostel for my Masters, I realised the warmth and love that goes in to the food our moms make for us. Nothing that I can have in restaurants can even come close to the lingering fragrance and warmth from food cooked at home with loving hands.

After a festival or function,we would crave for amma`s home made simple pathyam food to cleanse our systems.  I always loved her simple lemon rasam with Beans Curry or Chow Chow Kootu and Appalam. I am not so happy with the tomatoes here in the U.S, as I feel they lack tartness and tang. Yesterday when I saw tomatillos at the local produce store, I bought a pound or two, all the while imaging endless possibilities. Tomatillos can be stored in paper bags and kept in the refridgerator for around 2-3 weeks. The tomatillos have a protective outside husk. Remove the husk and wash before use. Tomatillos are used in many places in teh treatment of fever. I had to make this lemon rasam today, as its been pouring since morning and I suddenly yearned for amma`s cooking…

Tomatillos with husks...
Tomatillos with husks…Pic Courtesy


2 Tomatillos or 1 Tomato

1  Jalapeno  slit vertically.

2 red chillies.

2 1/2  cups of water

4 spoons of cooked Toor dhal.

1 Inch Piece of Tamarind.

1 Tsp Rasam Powder


Curry Leaves.

1 Lemon.


Cilantro / Curry Leaves to Garnish.


  • Chop the tomatillos in to little pieces so it saves cooking time. Dilute the cooked toor dhal in the 2 1/2 cups of water and set aside.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and when it is hot, add mustard. When the mustard splutters, add hing, curry leaves, red chillies, slit jalapenos, and finally the chopped tomatillos.
  • Allow to saute for a few minutes till the tomatillos are a little mushy.
  • Add 1 cup  of the dhal water at this stage and allow to simmer. Add salt, hing, Rasam powder and  turmeric.
  • After about ten  minutes, remove in a spoon, a few cooked pieces of tomatillos and crush them with a spoon in a cup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of toor dhal water to the crushed tomatillos and pour it all back in to the kadai.
  • Allow the whole rasam to simmer and then switch off in about 15 minutes or so. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and curry leaves. Keep the rasam closed.
  • After the rasam has cooled down a bit,  squeeze the juice from the lemon and keep closed again until time to serve.
  • Serve HOT with Beans Poriyal or Pumpkin Poricha Kootu. Alu Fry is always the recommended option!!


  • The same rasam can be made with regular tomatoes too. I add a pinch of  tamarind to the dal water as it cooks.
  • Adjust the tartness based on the sourness of the Lemon/ lime etc.
  • For added taste,  you can zest the lemon a little bit after switching off the stove
  • Add a marble size of jaggery for added taste.

Let me know what you think! Did you try it?