south indian recipe

How do you brew your rasam??

Depending on perspective, rasam can be the most difficult or easiest dish to make. From experience I have realised that over time you understand little nuances of rasam-making – how much powder, how long must it boil, when can you say it is done. There used to be a time, whatever I tried my rasam would be lacking “something”. And no matter how many recipes I mimicked or reliance calls to amma I stuck to, my rasam wasnt rasam. DOT

So finally I brewed it my way a couple of years ago. No imitations, no recipe-diary-peeking, no hard and fast rules. I am sure I dont stick to the following procedure to the T, but more or less I do it this way and I can now state with conviction that the rasam tastes like rasam should

Ingredients –

2 small tomatoes or 1 medium size tomato

a generous handful of cilantro finely cut

gooseberry size tamarind soaked in a cup ofย  warm/hot water

2 to 3 garlic pods mildly crushed

rasam powder OR sambhar powder OR a combo of coriander + jeera + chilly powder

For tempering/tadka/tallichu kotarathuku/kaduvarakaan/kaduvarakarathuku (a little pompous multi-linguistic talking ๐Ÿ™‚ ) –



curry leaves

2 or 3 black peppercorns, midly crushed

Procedure –

Beat the tomatoes to a semi-pulp in the blender. (I have a phobia for whole tomatoes cooked or raw. So I hide them by beating them to pulp for almost all my dishes.)

In a heavy bottom/copper botton vessel, heat oil or ghee ( I have never used ghee owing to N’s phobia for yummy milk products. If your athukaarar digs ghee, don’t hesitate ! ). Add the tadka ingredients and let them pop. Add the pulped tomatoes and garlic to it. Let it cook until the raw smell disperses.Keep it covered on a medium flame.

Now add a couple of teaspoons of any of the powders you have access to. Trust me, just chilly and jeera powders should also do. How much to and how much not to add is something you will pick up in time.

Once the tomatoes and powders have made a pasty medley, pour the tamarind water and let it boil. Add more water as needed.

Let it boil on a medium flame, until the smell of rasam fills the house ( the most awesome tip I picked up and always makes me go ummm.. with a smile ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Now take it off the flame and garnish with finely cut cilantro.

Serve with hot rice and a dollop of cooked mashed paruppu/daal.


Add a proportion of rasam powder with pepper when serving it to someone with a cold.

Reduce one tomato and substitute with the lemon grass you get in chinese store. I tried it once and its delectable. Although the taste is more of tom yam soup in this case.

So when unga aathu mama goes for a second helping of rasam, even though he is full after the first, you know you have hit the niche with rasam-brewing!!


6 thoughts on “How do you brew your rasam??

  1. I jus had my dinner n after ur post I’m actually tempted to go make some rasam!!! I’m a rasam lover- I suck at making it tho ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    (R)oomie makes a pretty decent rasam tho and so I’d given up trying.
    While in school,9th standard, I used to go to my Tamil iyengar frd’s(coincidentally it’s her bday today) place every day(combined studies u c) and my favourite thing to do was have rasam chor while watching small wonder ๐Ÿ˜€
    sweet memories ur post brought back!

    1. My recipe is not foolproof. But as I say, i dont believe any recipe really is. Rasam is what they say in tamil – “kai pakvam” i dont know the equivalent in another language. ๐Ÿ™‚
      My advice would be to keep trying different variations and combinations; u will eventually hit the right note and then there is no going back! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I always knew rasam as Chatamudhu! To make the perfect rasam, I make my own rasam powder fresh! Nothing can beat the taste of freshly made rasam!

    To make a little batch of rasam powder:

    Dry roast a handful of curry leaves, 1 tbsp peppercorns, 1 tbsp jeera, 1 tsp thuvar dal, 1 tsp urad dal. Grind to a fine powder with 1 tsp of turmeric powder.

    For jeeraga milagai rasam, omit the dals & turmeric, and double the peppercorns. This rasam just needs crushed garlic, no tomatoes (so might work for you!). This is amazing for a sore throat!

    1. left out 1 tsp of corriander and 5 dry red chillies on #1. No wonder the list was short! Rasam #2 needs just the corriander!

    2. I have surprisingly.. well not so surprising really.. but hey, me and my digression! I have never known rasam to be called by that name ever! enunciate it to me when i meet u next. cant figure how it sounds. Will try our your powder next time i make rasam… ๐Ÿ™‚

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