Rasam – The Amazing Indian Soup or Sauce

Rasam means Essence. Since the essence of Toor Dhal alone is used, along with spices that are flavorful and contain medicinal properties, this “soup” or “sauce” is refreshing, tasty, flavorful and healthy. Apart from being used almost daily as part of a routine meal in South India, Rasam is widely used when someone is under the weather with a cold, upset stomach etc. It has a variety of other uses as a complement to other dishes too. Try this one at least once!



Rasam...so tasty and healthy

Rasam…so tasty and healthy

Rasam...hmm..so Aromatic

Rasam…hmm..so Aromatic

Hover over the highlighted Keywords below for Images and/or Description of some of the Ingredients: 
Black Pepper, Cayenne, Cilantro, Cumin, Curry Leaves, Hing, Mustard Seeds, Olive Oil, ~Rice, ~Tamarind, Tomatoes, Toor Dahl, Turmeric, Urad Dahl


Rasam – The Amazing Indian Soup or Sauce

Serves 4 - 6
Cook time 30 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian


  • 1 cup Toor Dhal (See Recipe under 'Indian Basic' Category)
  • 1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (OR - 2 Fresh Roma Tomates, finely chopped)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 -2 teaspoon Rasam Powder (Available in Indian Grocery Stores)
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin Powder
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 6 - 8 leaves Curry Leaves (Adds great flavor to Rasam)
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil


  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice


Serving Suggestions:
1) Typically served with rice placed on a plate. Rasam is ladled on top of the rice.
2) Serve as a soup with rice in a bowl.
3) Serve stir-fried vegetables, or french fries as a side dish.
4) Serve Raita (Plain Youghurt blended with either cucumber and/or tomatoes with a little salt), as a side dish.
5) If you are a little under the weather, like a cold or upset stomach, just have Rasam with a little rice and boiled vegetables.
1) A teaspoon of clarified butter can be added to the Rasam, in the sauce pan or on the individual plate. It can enhance the taste and reduce the spicyness.
2) If you don't have Rasam Powder, just add 2 more teaspoons of Cumin Powder and half a teaspoon of ground Black Pepper.
3) Curry leaves are used mainly for the flavor. You can discard them after Rasam is served on the plate or bowl.


Step 1
Cook Toor Dahl. See Recipe under the "Indian Basic" Category.
Cooked Toor Dahl
Step 2
Place a non-stick or durable stainless steel medium or large sauce pan on medium heat. Add oil. Heat a little. Add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds crackle rapidly, lower the heat and carefully add 3 cups of water.
Step 3
Add half of the can of diced tomatoes, asafoetida, salt, cumin powder, rasam powder, tamarind paste, one teaspoon black pepper, curry leaves and turmeric to the pan. Mix with a ladle or a large spoon. Cook for 5 minutes.
Step 4
Mash the cooked toor dhal thoroughly in a bowl into a paste. Or You can use a electric hand blender or a regular blender to mash it into a paste.
Step 5
If mashed using a blender, and the toor dhal is a fine puree or paste, add the toor dahl to the tomato mixture in the sauce pan, add 3 cups of water and mix well. If you like it thinner, add water, half a cup at a time and check.
Step 6
If the cooked toor dahl is not fully mashed, add 2 cups of water to the toor dahl and mash. Then add only the liquid part of the mixture into the sauce pan. Repeat this two or three more times, each time with one cup of water. Discard the unmashable part of the toor dahl.
Step 7
Mix the Rasam in the sauce pan well. Add the rest of the canned diced tomatoes. Add the chopped cilantro and lower the heat. Taste a spoon of rasam. If not tangy enough, add lemon juice. If not spicy enough, add more rasam powder and other spices as you wish.
Add salt if you wish. Mix thoroughly.
Step 8
Lower the heat to low or simmer, and wait until the top starts getting a little foamy. Do not let the Rasam boil.
Step 9
Your Rasam is ready.
Step 10
Serve hot.
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