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  Age on Sunday   09 Jul 2017  Rasam of seasonal flavours

Rasam of seasonal flavours

Published : Jul 9, 2017, 5:33 am IST
Updated : Jul 9, 2017, 5:33 am IST

It’s no secret that the flavourful rasam holds pride of place in every South Indian household.

Mango rasam
 Mango rasam

That hot, piping and spice sprinkled flavour of South Indian rasam is soul food for many. When the British came to India, they, of course, made their own potion and called it Mulligatawny. But its origins are the Tamil pepper water that was served to officers of British Raj by their South Indian khansamas. Every region in South India has its seasonal relevance that appears in the rasam with tamarind being the one common factor that binds the ingredients together. Fresh herbs and stone ground, the flavour of this simple dish with hot steamed rice is what families across the Indian subcontinent start, or end, their meal with. Here are some unique seasonal rasam recipes that bring in different flavours during different seasons.

Ginger rasam 

  • 1/3 cup lentils yellow (tur dal)
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 tbsp ginger, peeled and thinly shredded fresh root
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric ground
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • For the spice powder
  • 8 - 10 black peppercorns (whole)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red chilli dried

For tempering

  • 1 - 2 tsps ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves

Ginger rasam


  • Wash the tur dal well. Soak the dal in water for 30 minutes.
  • Pressure cook dal with green chilli, turmeric and ginger along with 2 cups water.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, dry roast the peppercorns, cumin seeds and red chillies for 5-6 minutes on a low heat, until aromatic. Wait for it to cool. Crush it to a coarse powder using a mortar-pestle or in the spice grinder.
  • Once the pressure cooker has cooled, open the lid, discard the green chilli and puree the dal with turmeric and ginger, using a stick blender or a mixer.
  • Return this to a pan, add around 3/4 cup water. Bring this to a simmer on medium heat. Add turmeric paste spice powder, salt, give it a good stir, and allow this to simmer for three to four minutes, until it starts foaming on the surface. Remove this from the flame.
  • In a small tempering ladle/pan, heat ghee. Add the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds splutter, transfer this over the rasam and keep covered until ready to serve.

Pudina rasam 

  • 1/3 cup tur dal
  • 2 tbsps onion sliced
  • 1 tomato medium ripe
  • 1 cup mint leaves packed
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

For tempering

  • 1 tsp ghee or oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp  mustard seeds

For garnish
Mint leaves, fresh

Pudina rasam


  • Wash and soak the tur dal in water for an hour.
  • Halve and slice the tomato. Finely chop the mint leaves.
  • In a pressure cooker, place the tur dal, onion, tomato, mint leaves, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and salt for a whistle and 7-8 minutes on simmer.
  • Open when cool enough. Run this mix in a blender to make a smooth puree and strain.
  • In a tempering ladle, heat ghee. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
  • When seeds pop, transfer it over the
  • rasam.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Mango rasam


  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ghee or cooking oil
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 cup cooked tur dal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • ¾ cup ripe mango puree
  • A wedge of ripe mango for garnish


  • In a pan, dry roast red chillies, cumin seeds, peppercorns on medium heat for two to three minutes. Once cooled, place in a mortar and grind to a coarse powder.
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the oil/ghee. Add a pinch of asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
  • Once the cumin seeds crackle, add red chilli powder and immediately add cooked tur dal, water and tamarind paste. Use a whisk to get a smooth consistency.
  • Add turmeric powder, rasam powder, salt and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. If the mango stone has some pulp stuck to it, you can simmer the stone along with the rasam to extract all the mango pulp from the stone.
  • Remove from flame, add mango puree and whisk to combine.
  • Garnish with a slice of ripe mango and curry leaves.

Tags: recipes, rasam