Rasam – A Tangy, Spicy Soup- Perfect to Fight a Cold!

It is flu season again! So, reposting this.Make a bowl and enjoy as it clears your sinus.

Rasam is synonymous to South India. Every person or region has their version. But one thing common is the tangy spicy taste, The tang can come from tomato, tamarind or lime. If you are fighting a cold, this is a must have- the pepper clears your sinus and the turmeric works as an antiseptic. It is our version of the ‘chicken soup’, only vegan. People who do not understand rasam, call it the ‘watered down sambar’. Do not say that to any south indian! Here is one of the many versions of rasam. Rasam is eaten with rice. But in every family I know, when rasam is made, you always have a glass of rasam to drink.

It is said that the mulligatawny soup originated from rasam. The name comes from milag tanni which means pepper water. It was a popular soup when the british ruled India.

Here I have used rasam powder from a caterer who caters to a school I worked in, Annapoorna Caterers, in Bangalore. They make some great sambar powder too!

You could also make the powder at home or use store bought, MTR is good. My mom makes her own blend of the powder. For this , you roast red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, channa dal, tur dal, black pepper and asafoetida. Powder and store.


  • 1/4 cup tur dal
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 4-6 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 tbsp rasam powder
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste concentrate or a 1 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • a couple of curry leaves (optional)
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Wash tur dal well
  • To an instant pot or pressure cooker, add tur dal, turmeric, chopped tomatoes, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 3 cups of water
  • Pressure cook for 5 minutes in instant pot or 3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker
  • Once the pressure has released, turn to saute in instant pot or transfer to a pan from a pressure cooker
  • Mash tomatoes with a spoon. Add salt and tamarind paste
  • Cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add rasam powder and pepper powder and cook for a few minutes. Once it boils, turn off the stove or instant pot
  • Taste and add more seasoning if required.
  • In a small pan. add oil
  • Add asafoetida and mustard seeds and let it splutter
  • Add curry leaves and 2 cloves of whole garlic
  • Add to rasam, add cilantro and serve hot as a soup or with rice.

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