Rasam is the traditional soup served daily in households across south India. Not only does the hot-spiced broth help to make you feel cooler in summer, it is also warming in winter.
The ingredients list might seem long, but in fact it’s an extremely simple recipe to cook – there are just four vegetables to chop, and a few spices to measure out, before putting everything into a pan together and simmering for 30 minutes.
The ‘tarka’ – spices fried in oil or butter – at the end is optional, but really enhance the flavours.
What are the health benefits of rasam
Treated as a ‘functional’ food, every ingredient in rasam is chosen for its health benefits according to south Indian traditional medicine, ‘Siddha’, and also Ayurvedic medicine. The soup thought to help prevent cancer, control diabetes by lowering blood sugar, lower cholesterol, stimulate digestion and be anti-inflammatory.
In Tamil Nadu, the southern most tip of India, rasam is eaten to treat fevers, colds and even stomach upsets. Really a cure-all!
How to serve rasam
Although this is called soup, it is served together with rice, just like you would daal. However, it can also be eaten alone for a lighter meal. When you serve it sprinkle with plenty of chopped coriander leaves.
Rasam Soup Ingredients Serves: 2
- 2 pieces garlic, minced
- 1 onion (150g), minced
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped (200g)
- 2 fresh green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp tamarind concentrate
- 1tbsp jaggery or caster sugar
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 fat garlic cloves, minced (15g)
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- Place garlic, onion, tomatoes, green chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, hot chilli powder, asafoetida, turmeric and 750ml water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes – it should reduce by approximately 1/3. If the soup becomes too thick, just add more water.
- Stir in the jaggery or caster sugar and tamarind.
- Fry cumin seeds and mustard seeds in coconut oil until they start to pop, add red chilies, garlic, pepper and fry for a further two minutes, moving the spices about so they don’t burn. Pour over the soup.
- Garnish with plenty of chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve with plain rice.
Want to learn more about the tropical fruit tamarind? Read our guide here.