Trust me to traipse off half way across the world just when a contest theme involving a staple pops up..
Rasams are tangy spicy clear broths that are served with rice as a second course in a traditional 3 course South Indian meal. The defining spice notes come from a coarse mix of cumin & coriander, supplemented by curry leaves & fresh cilantro for a garnish. —Panfusine
Rasam Spice blend
dried arbol chiles
dried split pigeon peas (Tuvar dal)
large olive sized ball of tamarind fruit pulp OR
In a coffee grinder, combine the ingredients for the spice blend & grind to a coarse powder
Set the water to boil in a saucepan & add the tamarind, spice blend, tomatoes, asafetida, curry leaves,turmeric and salt ( all the ingredients except the cilantro, lime, ghee & cumin). Bring to a boil & then simmer, till the tomatoes are really soft. (~ 15 minutes)
In a cast iron skillet, heat the ghee till REALLY smoking hot. add the cumin seeds & allow to sputter, split & brown. Add this sizzling tempering into the broth.
Remove from heat & garnish with chopped cilantro. Add lime juice as per taste, Serve over plain rice. Or simply with as a light broth.