Soup – Rasam

As temperatures drop all across the country, even here in Bombay some days, we start to crave something a little comforting, warm, delicious and even a little wholesome. Soups are the perfect winter food. There are great winter vegetables to be used for soups and besides that, just the warmth and comfort of soups makes them super satisfying. We’re doing a short series on soups this week where we’ll be sharing 3 very different soup recipes for you to try out.

Starting off with the very traditional, Rasam. The website Samosapedia tells us that Rasam is the the real name of Mulligatawny soup. Also called millagu thanni in Tamil. Thanni meaning water and Millagu meaning pepper. Rasam is a spicy (an understatement) dish made with tomatoes, tamarind, pepper, asafoetida among other spices. If chicken soup is for the soul, rasam is for the belly on those cold nights when you crave something hot and spicy. Usually an accompaniment with rice, it makes an excellent soup on it’s own. Sour and peppery, Rasam tingles your taste buds and when the first mouthful goes down your throat, that warm happy feeling envelopes you.

This recipe is courtesy my father in law who makes a mean Rasam.

Serves 4


100 gms  Tur daal
2 Tomatoes
8 cloves of Garlic
Handful of Peppercorns (about 10-15. More if you want it spicier)
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Coriander seeds
Salt to taste
1 tea cup Tamarind water
Small handful of Coriander leaves
6-8 Curry leaves
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 dry Red chili
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
Jaggery, to taste


Boil the Tur daal in a pressure cooker with salt. Once boiled, remove the pressure cooker top to add diced tomatoes and a rough paste of peppercorns, cumin seeds, asafoetida, coriander seeds and garlic. Add four glasses of water and the tamarind water and cook for one whistle. Leave the pressure cooker until the pressure inside drops on its own. To this add coriander leaves and bring to a boil. Now crackle some curry leaves, mustard seeds, 1 dry red chili and fenugreek seeds in hot oil and pour the oil over the Rasam. This simple, delicious rasam is ready to be enjoyed. The one advice is that you should let the Rasam settle and then make sure that the Rasam that you serve is from the top and not from the slushy bottom.
Add a dash of Jaggery to take the bite out of the pepperiness.


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