Instant Pot: Toor Dal Rasam, Brothy Tomato Soup

June 26, 2021

Toor Dal Rasam, South Indian Tomato and Tamarind Soup
Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 22 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes + manual release time
TOTAL: 40 minutes + manual release time
Makes: 8 cups 

3 whole large tomatoes (no need to peel or dice)
1 tablespoon duhli toor dal (dried, split, and skinned pigeon peas), picked over and washed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorn, slightly crushed
6 whole dried red chiles, broken in pieces
2 tablespoons Rasam Powder 
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups water
½ lemon, juiced, add later (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Tarka (Tempering)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil like coconut or ghee
2 pinches hing (asafoetida)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
4 whole dried red chiles, broken in pieces
10 fresh curry leaves

1. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Add the tomatoes, toor, garlic, tamarind, peppercorn, dried chiles, Rasam powder, turmeric, sugar, red chile, salt, and water. The tomatoes do not need to be diced. I keep the skin, but you can remove it for a smoother finish.

2. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads HIGH. Adjust the cook time to 8 minutes.

3. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining pressure and carefully open the lid.

4. With an immersion or regular blender process the product until smooth. Press the SAUTE button until the panel reads LESS. This keeps the soup hot as you prepare the tarka.

5. Make the tarka on your stovetop. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium pan. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the hing, cumin and mustard seeds. Cook until the seeds pop and turn grey. Add the red chiles and curry leaves. Be very careful and keep a lid handy, the moisture in the curry leaves can cause the oil to splatter. Stir and cook 1 minute until the leaves wilt.

6. Carefully add this mixture to the Instant Pot. The hot oil may splash once it hits the liquid. Stir and let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes to pull all the spices together. Press CANCEL. Add the lemon juice if using and cilantro. Adding lemon is traditional, but I find it a little too tart. Serve piping hot as a soup or over plain basmati rice. All the spices including the curry leaves are edible.


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