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Recipe: How To Make Rasam

September 13, 2022 15:54 IST

Piping hot rasam is part of some South Indian meals.

The tangy-spicy soup-like concoction might be one segment in a three-course meal that starts with rice and sambar, followed by rasam and concludes with a sweet/yoghurt course with moru or thairu or curd and payasam.

Rasam is my Amma's go-to solution for all ailments, be they a cold, cough, fever or a headache.

From pepper rasam and garlic rasam to lemon rasam and tomato rasam or even, for non-vegetarians, bone rasam, different avatars of the traditional recipe are cooked in South Indian homes.

If you don't like it too watery, go ahead and add a portion of cooked dal to turn it into a thicker adaptation that can be served with rice, dosas and idlis.

Incidentally, the British Mulligatawny Soup got its origins from South India -- the word mulligatawny is derived from milagu, Tamil for pepper and tanni or water in Tamil.

My recipe for Tomato Rasam is a take off from Amma's rasam, which she serves at least once a week.


Photograph: Divya Nair

Divya's Tomato Rasam

Serves: 3-4


For the rasam powder

For the rasam


To make the rasam powder

To make the rasam

Divya's Notes: The secret to a good rasam is to not boil it too much.

If the rasam has turned out too spicy, add 1 tsp jaggery.

The rasam powder can be made up in bulk and stored for a few weeks in an air-tight container or longer in the freezer in a labelled ziplock bag.

For Jain rasam, omit the garlic.

Rasam can be paired with fried fish, rice, tender mango picke, appalam (papad) for a wonderful Sunday meal. Try Chef Manish Kusumwal's recipe for Kerala-style Fried Anchovies.