Rasam from Chennai

Rasam is common in south Indian meal, it is eaten with white boiled rice. It is a second course eaten with rice, followed after sambar in south India. If you order any south Indian meal in hotels, you can see that rasam is there. A south Indian meal involves puri or roti, vegetable korma or any vegetable dish, sambar, any kuzhambu , dry veg dish called poriyal, pickle, apppalam (pappad), curd and sweet. Rasam is had as a soup too. If you just serve it with hot rice and appalam (in tamil) (poppadom), and some pickle , it goes very well. It is eaten with side dish called porriyal( in tamil)( fried vegetables). In tamil it is called as rasam and in telugu charu, in south each rasam has its own ingredients and spices. Its unique in taste also. In Chennai rasam, jaggery is not added but in Andhra and Karnataka jaggery is added in rasam. There are varieties of rasam like lemon, tomato, tamarind, pineapple rasam, dal rasam also. Rasam is basically thin in consistency and do not have any vegetables much in it. If we are having any fried items like chicken sukha, chicken 65, fish fry, rasam goes well. It is good for digestion purpose as tamarind and hing(asafoetida) is there. You might have seen my drumstick leaves rasam also.

The rasam which iam going to share is from Chennai and it is made in our house daily and it will be always served during lunch times. This is a tamarind rasam I call it, but can be called as pepper rasam also. This is a mixture of garlic, cumin seeds and pepper seeds.


  1. Tamarind – 1 lemon (big size)
  2. Tomato (medium size) – 1/2 or 1
  3. Coriander leaves – a handful or 1/3rd cup
  4. Salt
  5. Turmeric powder – 3/4 to 1 tsp
  6. Water – 3 1/2 to 4 cups (200 ml each cup)
  7. Hing - a pinch
  8. Grinding

  9. Dry chilli – 1(optional)
  10. Cumin seeds – 1 1/2tsp
  11. Black pepper seeds – 1 1/2tsp
  12. Garlic cloves – 10 (very small)with skin
  13. Curry leaves – 10- 12
  14. Seasoning

  15. Oil 2 tsp
  16. Hing – 1/4 tsp
  17. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  18. Dry chillies – 3
  19. Curry leaves – 15


  1. First soak tamarind in water for sometime or can soak it in warm water for few minutes and take out the all juices (pulp) from the tamarind and strain well so that no seeds chunks are there. Can use the concentrated paste form also. Keep it aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients together in mixer for rasam paste but coarsely, no need to add water. Grind garlic with skin.
  3. Take a big bowl or vessel, add water 3 cups, then add the tamarind pulp in it. Be care full while adding water in it as some water has been used in tamarind also to remove the pulp from it. The water should be sour but not much.
  4. Now add chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves roughly chopped, turmeric powder, hing (asafoetida) , salt and then the paste, mix it with hands properly. Nicely squeeze the juice from tomatoes, crush it with hand all, so that they are blended together well in the tamarind water.
  5. Add salt and check it if it is fine. You will come to know the sourness of water also. If it is very sour can add little water according to the consistency. For me from tamarind soaking to the rasam, I have used 4cups of water.
  6. Now take a vessel and season it , add oil, when it gets warm add mustard seeds , dry chilli, curry leaves and hing, when it splutters , stir well and add tamarind masala water which is kept ready and do not mix it with a spoon as soon as you pour it in the vessel. Make it to simmer but not much, and close the lid. Check it in between as we are not going to boil it. This should not be boiled at all. Rasam will get cooked in simmer.
  7. After few minutes you can see that, all masala is formed on top and a froth formation has formed . you can see that bubbles are coming from the rasam, at this stage you have to be careful, you should not allow the rasam to boil completely, just one or little bit boil in the rasam comes, can see in the picture , switch it off. After sometime all the masala comes down and only light rasam will be on top, if you want can strain it and serve or mix it well and serve. Strain means not straining in the strainer , as the tomatoes and other ingredients will be in the strainer. Just directly transfer to the other bowl when the rasam is settle down, you can see that at the end of rasam lot of masala which was grounded its residue will be there , can throw it. Now you will have a clear rasam.


  1. The sourness of water should be there otherwise rasam will not be good.
  2. Sometimes, I add the half of the grounded masala in the tamarind water and other half while doing seasoning, just stir it for few seconds like 5 to 10, then immediately add rasam mixture and donot stir it. Then follow the recipe above.
  3. I do not strain the rasam, I love that masala, so I mix the rasam and pour it on rice.