Granny’s Rasam

For the longest time, I’d assumed that rasam could be only made in one way. Then I came across a little booklet with all sorts of rasam recipes (including green apple rasam!). There was a valid reason to my assumption. I’d grown up on my granny’s rasam you see, and have never really tasted rasam other than her’s or my mum’s.

She has made it for so many years (I’m not allowed to say how many – it might show her age) that she can one sniff of it as it cooks and know if something is missing.

To be honest I don’t cook rasam as much at home, though I really should. It’s really easy to throw together and requires minimal store-cupboard ingredients. Rasam also goes brilliantly with fried fish – a match made in food heaven.

You’ll need:


  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 4 dried chilies (broken in half)
  • Pinch of hing
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup tamarind juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Fresh coriander – chopped



In a mortar and pestle, crush cumin seeds and pepper into a fine powder. Mix turmeric with this powder. Set aside. Crush garlic with the skin on, set aside.

In a pot, add water and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Once tomatoes are soft, crush the tomatoes with a fork into the water. In another small pot, heat oil, add garlic and fry well. Once garlic is golden, remove and add garlic to tomato water. In the same oil, add mustard seeds and hing.

Once the seeds start to pop, add broken chilies and cumin, pepper and turmeric mix. Stir well. Add curry leaves and stir. Add this to tomato mix and stir well. Add tamarind juice to this and bring to a boil. At the first boil, switch off the flame. Don’t over boil the rasam. Season with salt to taste, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

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