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Basic South Indian Rasam

 Published 2008-Feb-10   Updated 2022-Jul-04

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Spicy Rasam, Chaaru, Saaru, Kabir, Tomato Rasam, Pepper Rasam, South Indian Soup)

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Rasam is a south Indian curry/soup usually had with rice. It is made with tamarind, tomatoes, pepper, cumin, garlic, lentils etc. It is called saaru or chaaru in Telugu and Kannada. In the traditional 3 course south Indian meal, it is usually had as a second course with sambhar being the first course and curd being the grand finale.

There are many different types of rasam based on the ingredients used. But the basic recipe remains the same, the recipe that is given below. The additional ingredient is added to the basic rasam to enhance and change its flavor. Some of the variations of south indian rasam recipes that I am familiar with are:

Types of Rasam

  1. Basic Rasam (See Recipe Below)
  2. Poodu (garlic) Rasam,
  3. Pineapple Rasam,
  4. Mango Rasam,
  5. Milagu (Pepper) Rasam/ Milagu Saaru,
  6. Neem Leaf Rasam,
  7. Neam Flower Rasam,
  8. Ginger Rasam,
  9. Lemon Rasam - sourness comes from lemon juice instead of tamarind juice,
  10. Paruppu Rasam/ Pappu Saaru - made with lentils,
  11. Chettinadu Kozhi (Chicken) Saaru/ Rasam- made with chicken broth/stock instead of water,
  12. Tomato Rasam/ Saaru - with tomato puree as main ingredient,
  13. Mysore Rasam- a fragrant soup made with fried grams/dals,
  14. Jeerige saaru - made with cumin,
  15. Coconut Rasam,
  16. Carrot Rasam - Boiled and crushed carrot is added to the rasam,
  17. Beetroot Rasam - Boiled and crushed beetroot is added to the rasam etc.

Recipe For Basic Rasam

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-6


  • Tamarind- lime sized
  • Tomato - 1 (finely chopped or crushed)
  • Green Chilly - 1
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp 
  • Water - 3 cups 
  • Salt - to taste 
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 7 leaves 
  • Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp 
  • Coriander leaves (cilantro) – handful (chopped)

Rasam Powder (Masala) Ingredients

  • Black Peppercorns - 3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Toor Dal - 1 tsp
  • Red Chilly - 1 or 2  
  • Garlic - 3-4 cloves (crushed)
  • Curry leaves - few

Rasam Ingredients


  1. Coarsely grind all the items under ‘rasam powder ingredients’. I prefer to add the garlic while making this rasam powder. Some people crush and add the garlic separately.

    Rasam Steps

  2. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 5 minutes to extract the tamarind juice.

    Rasam Steps

  3. Heat little oil in a pan and pop the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.

    Rasam Steps

  4.  Add the rasam masala, crushed green chilly and chopped tomato. 

    Rasam Steps

  5. Let it cook for couple of minutes until the tomatoes become soft and juicy. A nice aroma of the roasted spices will come.

    Rasam Steps

  6. Now add tamarind juice, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt, finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and about 3 cups of water.

    Rasam Steps

  7. When the rasam is about to boil, you will see it foaming. Switch it off at this stage before it comes to a full boil.

    Rasam Steps

  8. Transfer to a serving dish and keep it covered with a lid to retain its aroma until you are ready to serve.

    Rasam Steps

Serving Suggestion

  • Plain white rice with rasam and paapad is an excellent combination.  It can be served with some simple poriyal or vegetable fry or some non veg dry preparations. You can also serve it as a warm soup.

More Tamarind Based Curries

Neem Flower Rasam (Veepam Poo Rasam) Neem Flower Rasam Beetroot Rasam Beetroot Rasam Carrot Rasam Carrot Rasam Manathakkali Uppadan Manathakkali Uppadan
See more rasam recipes ⟩⟩

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Comments (14)

Person   ()
Thank you so much for this recipe! My old friend's mom used to make the most delicious rasam, and I've missed it so much since I moved away. I've tried so many recipes, and this tasted just like hers and was so easy. I will be making this all winter long!
Person   ()
Thank You so much. I feel so happy to know that this rasam has brought back pleasant memories for you. Its one of the best compliment.
Person   ()
I made this rasam today with the wadas and chutney it turned out to b awesome
Person   ()
Thats good. Glad that you enjoyed it.
Person   ()
yummy , and easy to made
Person   ()
Thank You,
Person   ()
Person   ()
Thank you.
Person   ()
Person   ()
thank you.
Person   ()
nice recipe!
Person   ()
Thank You.
Person   ()
rasam is my favourite veg soup, particularly with boiled gram dal
Person   ()
hmm.. yummy!!

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Old Comments

Comment by nive v
hi i love indian cooking i want to learn all

Reply :-
Sure. Try out the recipes and feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Comment by Shanthi Athishankar
You recipes are so good. Am woking girl. I really bored preparing same recipes daily.
Can you send me variety rice recipes and Vegtable kulambu recipes?
Am eagarly waiting for your reply..

Reply :-
Hi Shanthi, Here are some rice varieties, some veggie gravies and some veggie side dishes.

Comment by manonmani jayakanthan
Hi ,
I am manonmani. I have tired most of your recipes, all came out well. Thank You so much!!!!
Well, I have sent a couple of request on deepavalli recipes. But unfortunate there is no reply....
Hopefully this time you manage to sent it to me.
Thank You.
Happy Deepavali.

Reply :-
Hi Manonmani,
We do not celebrate Diwali. Hence I'm not aware of any specific diwali recipes.
However you can try any of the following snacks and sweets
Hope this helps!

Comment by Uthara Muruga
Hi Dahila,
i tried out this rasam and it turned out very well.I love rasam always & this is the best rasam recipe too

Reply :-
Rasam is our family favorite too... Its so simple to make and comforting to eat.

Comment by Vailixi Asvini on 29 April 2010 16:05PM
Is the tamarind lemon sized or lime sized? I think lemon sized will be a bit too much.

Reply :-
In india lemon and lime refers to the same thing and is smaller is size. Anyway to avoid confusion, I'll change it to 'Lime Sized'. Thanks for letting me know.

Comment by Naleefa Hassim on 27 March 2010 05:28AM
i love indan coocking
please keep me informed with latest news and special offers

Reply :-
Hi Naleefa, You can subscribe to the website newsletter to receive periodic alerts.

Comment by Lydia Lam on 02 October 2009 07:59AM
I am a Chinese who loves Indian food, especially rasam! Been making rasam out of instant rasam powder, but somehow the taste is not quite the same. I am definitely going to try your recipe!

Reply :-
Hi Lydia, Nice to hear from you. Do try the rasam. Rasam with rice is a comfort food for most South Indians. I love chinese food too.

Comment by lisy vincent on 18 March 2009 07:39AM
very nice and simple.

Reply :-
Thanks Lisy.

Comment by Niti on 15 February 2008 04:40AM
Looks Yummy...
Hey Dahlia, This really looks yummy and delicious. Will try it some time.

Reply :-
Thanks Niti, Do try and give your comments.

 Published by on and last updated on 2022-07-04.