South Indian Plain Rasam Recipe
Thin Lentil Soup

South Indian Recipe for Lentil Dal Rasam

This Rasam Recipe is a popular South Indian recipe. It is served with Rice or as a hot drink.

It is called as rasam, sar, saru, charu in south indian languages but rasam is a more commonly used name. It is an important accompaniment that is served as a soup or with steamed Rice.

rasam - Thin lentil soup

The main ingredient in Rasam is yellow lentil called Tuvar dal. Tuvar dal is also known as toor dal(marathi) tugari bele(kannada), arahar dal(hindi), pigeon peas, yellow lentil etc.

There are different varieties made with this dal, such as lime rasam, garlic rasam, tomato rasam, pepper rasam etc.

Whatever flavor you make it, it is a very tasty preparation and a very welcome drink in the hot weather. It is also good for digestion.

This recipe is made on the stove top and the dal is cooked in a pot. You may cook tur dal in a pressure cooker if you normally use a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking daal will save time.

Wash and soak dal about 30 minutes before cooking. This soaking will cook the toor dal faster, thus saving time.

How to make Rasam

Main ingredients for plain rasam

Toor - tuvar - arhar dal - Yellow lentilToor - tuvar - arhar dal - Yellow lentil
Ingredients for Rasam to serve 3-4:
  • Toor dal - 1/2 small cup
  • Tamarind - a lime sized ball Curry leaves - a sprig.
  • Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped. Salt - 1 tea spoon or to taste.
  • Water - 3-4 cups.
  • Rasam powder - 1 1/2 tsp - You may use your already prepared rasam powder or make fresh as per the ingredients and instructions given below.

Ingredients for seasoning:

  • Oil/ghee - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1 pinch
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon.

Preparation before making rasam:

  1. Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes. Get pulp using 1 cup of water.
  2. Wash and soak tuvar dal for 20-30 minutes if possible. Not Soaking is alright but then dal may get longer time in cooking.

Cooking Method:

  1. Cook Toor dal in 2 cups of water till it is soft, either in a pressure cooker or on the stove top.
  2.  In a deep pan add 1 cup water.
  3. Add ground rasam powder, tamarind pulp. Boil.
  4.  Mash the cooked dal. Add to the boiling mixture.
  5. Boil for 5 minutes. Add salt. Add more water if needed.
  6. Boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Add chopped coriander leaves.
  8. Prepare the seasoning as per instructions below. Add it to the boiling rasam. Cover.
  9. Switch off the flame. Rasam is ready.

Prepare Seasoning

  1. In a sauce pan, heat oil/ghee.
  2. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they stop crackling, add asafetida and turmeric powder, curry leaves.
  3. Add to the ready rasam and cover the rasam pot.

Rasam is ready. Serve hot as a soup or with plain steamed rice.


Making fresh rasam powder enough for this rasam.

Ingredients For Rasam Powder

  • Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafetida - ¼ tsp
  • Red chilis - 2-3, according to taste
  • Black pepper  1/4 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - ¼ tea spoon

Making rasam powder

  1. Roast all the rasam powder ingredients on low flame.
  2. Grind to fine powder.


Using rasam powder made with freshly roasted spices adds to the taste and flavor. When I have time, I make and use fresh rasam powder as given below.

You may prepare rasam powder in large quantity to use for longer time. Use 1 1/2 teaspoon of this already prepared rasam powder in this rasam recipe instead of all the rasam powder ingredients specified in the beginning.

You may use store bought ready rasam powder. You will save the time of roasting and grinding the spices.There are many companies selling ready rasam powder such as MTR, Maiyas, Badsha, Nallaas, Eastern, Double horse etc.

It is good to have the rasam powder ready for using in many other dishes.When I am in a hurry, I use my homemade rasam powder which I make in large quantity.

Rasam powder can also be used for some other snacks and curries such as Onion curry, Tomato gojju etc.


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