Go Back
+ servings

Basic Rasam

Course Soup
Cuisine Indian
Keyword lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, recipe, soup, spiced, tomato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 71kcal


for soup base

  • 2 cups lentil stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 3 oz onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped stems, cilantro leaves reserved for serving
  • 4 tbsp tamarind concentrate (1:6 tamarind pulp:hot water, strained)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar jaggery
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds freshly ground

for tarka

  • 1 tsp black pepper corns freshly ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds freshly ground
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 dry red chili to your taste
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp urad dhal lentils
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida powder
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter or vegetable oil


  • Mix all ingredients for the soup base, bring to boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, no lid.
  • Measure all ingredients for tarka. Pound pepper corns, cumin seeds, and garlic to crush them into paste. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan till smoking hot and reduce the heat to medium. Add mustard seeds and red chili. Cook till mustard seeds start popping. Add lentils and cook for another 30 sec. Add fenugreek, asafetida, turmeric, and curry leaves and cook for another 10 sec, constantly stirring them in hot oil. Mix hot tarka into the soup base.
  • Simmer the soup for another 10 minutes. Chop cilantro leaves for serving soup.


Rasam is served with rice or with flat bread as a soup. There are commercial spice mixes for this soup called rasam powder, but I encourage you to ground your own. Only fresh spices make this soup really great. You can add other ingredients to the rasam base, one or two at a time — ginger, perl onions, lentils, vegetables, etc. — to make ginger rasam, onion rasam, and so on. Tomatoes are the main souring agent in this soup. If you add more tamarind, it becomes tamarind rasam.
Use slow cooker to make lentil stock. In a pot, cover 1 part of lentils with 4 parts of cold water, and add a pinch of salt. Cook lentils on low for 6-8 hours, strain, and keep cooked lentils and the stock refrigerated separately.


Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 387mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g