9 Varieties Of Rasam You Can Enjoy This Winter
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As winter approaches nationwide, safeguarding our health becomes a priority. A steaming hot bowl of rasam is the perfect solution to keep us warm and boost our immunity. This winter, shield yourself from the cold with this comforting soup-like dish.  

But what exactly is Rasam? Known as rasam in Malayalam and Tamil, chaaru in Telugu, and saaru in Kannada, this tangy liquid dish has a fascinating origin story. Its roots can be traced back to the time when the Saurashtra empire, a community of immigrants following the fall of the Vijayanagar empire in Madurai during the 16th century, began preparing a broth. This flavourful concoction, a blend of tamarind pulp and pepper, was a discovery arising from the abundance of these ingredients in South India.  

The distinct taste of rasam can vary by region, yet the foundational ingredients generally include tamarind, tomato, black pepper, garlic, asafoetida, and mustard seeds. In some areas, lentils are added to enhance their nutritional value, making them somewhat similar to sambar.  

Rasam is not only a flavourful accompaniment to rice but also a nutritious addition to a meal. It is low in calories and rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, which come from tomatoes and tamarind, providing antioxidant properties. The spices used in rasam, particularly black pepper and cumin, contribute to its digestive properties, aiding in digestion and metabolism. Additionally, the inclusion of lentils in some rasam recipes adds plant-based protein and fibre, making it a balanced and wholesome option.    

If you’re planning to warm your winter by consuming rasam, we are here to help you. In this article, we’ll provide you with a number of Rasam varieties. Take a look to know:    

  • Crab Rasam  

This aromatic and spicy broth is infused with the rich essence of crab, creating a harmonious marriage of seafood goodness and traditional South Indian spices. The preparation involves cooking crab meat along with tamarind extract, tomatoes, and a medley of spices such as cumin, pepper, and coriander. The result is a warm and tangy soup that showcases the natural sweetness of the crab while delivering a satisfying kick of spice.  

  • Mysore Rasam    

This special rasam hails from the city of Mysore in Karnataka and is characterised by its unique blend of spices and ingredients. While the core components of tamarind, tomatoes, and lentils remain, Mysore Rasam is distinguished by the addition of Mysore spice mix, which typically includes ingredients like roasted chana dal, coriander seeds, red chillies, and fenugreek seeds. This blend imparts a rich, earthy flavour with a hint of smokiness and a gentle warmth. Mysore rasam is often garnished with fresh cilantro and grated coconut, enhancing its aromatic profile.    

  • Chicken Chettinad Rasam    

This rasam originates from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. Known for its rich and bold flavours, it is a flavourful amalgamation of traditional South Indian spices and tender pieces of free-range country chicken. It features a base of tamarind pulp, tomatoes, and aromatic spices such as black pepper, cumin, and fenugreek, as well as a unique Chettinad masala blend that includes ingredients like dry red chilies, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds.     

  • Veppam Poo Rasam  

Also known as neem flower rasam, it is a distinctive South Indian soup that captures the essence of traditional medicinal ingredients in a flavorful culinary creation. The star of this rasam is the veppam poo, or neem, flowers, which are celebrated for their therapeutic properties. The rasam is prepared by infusing these tiny, bitter flowers with tamarind extract, tomatoes, and a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, pepper, and coriander. Despite the initial bitterness of neem flowers, the dish transforms into a uniquely savoury and tangy concoction that is both comforting and healthful.  

  • Tangy Tomato Rasam    

This aromatic dish revolves around ripe tomatoes, tamarind, and a medley of spices that come together to create a delightful blend of tanginess and warmth. Tomatoes provide the soup with its signature tartness, while tamarind adds an extra layer of tang and depth of flavour. A mix of spices such as black pepper, cumin, and asafoetida infuses the rasam with a spicy kick, making it a comforting and rejuvenating option, especially during the cold. Often tempered with ghee or oil, along with curry leaves and mustard seeds, the tempering adds a rich, aromatic touch to the dish. It seamlessly pairs with idli.    

  • Uluvacharu Rasam    

It is a speciality of the Andhra cuisine in South India. Uluvacharu is a tangy and spicy horse gram soup or stew made with horse gram lentils. This hearty dish is often served with rice and is enjoyed for its unique taste and nutritional value. Horse gram is known for its health benefits and is believed to have medicinal properties in traditional Indian medicine. Ulavacharu is seasoned with spices like black pepper, cumin, and mustard seeds and sometimes includes garlic, tamarind, tomatoes, and other ingredients to enhance its flavour. Often garnished with fresh coriander leaves, ulvacharu rasam is a flavourful and hearty accompaniment to rice.    

  • Poondu Rasam    

Also known as garlic rasam, the star ingredient of this rasam is garlic, which imparts a distinct and savoury note to the rasam. To prepare Poondu Rasam, peeled garlic cloves are cooked with tamarind pulp, tomatoes, and a mixture of spices like black pepper, cumin, and asafoetida. The result is a delightful balance of tanginess and spiciness, with the garlic adding a rich umami depth. Typically tempered with ghee or oil, mustard seeds, and curry leaves, poondu rasam is often enjoyed with steamed rice or served as a comforting remedy for colds and digestive issues on its own.  

  • Pepper Rasam  

This aromatic broth is crafted by infusing tamarind water with a tantalising combination of black pepper, cumin, garlic, and other spices. The star of the show is the freshly ground black pepper, which imparts a distinctive pungency and warmth to the rasam. The concoction is simmered to perfection, allowing the spices to meld harmoniously, creating a symphony of taste that is both comforting and revitalizing. The rasam is cherished to alleviate colds and provide relief from congestion.  

  • Lemon Rasam  

This light and invigorating dish is prepared by infusing tamarind extract with tomatoes, lentils, and a blend of aromatic spices such as cumin, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. The distinctive element in lemon rasam is the addition of fresh lemon juice, which imparts a burst of citrus flavour, elevating the dish to a refreshing and tangy experience. The combination of the sourness of tamarind and the brightness of lemon creates a harmonious balance that is both soothing and revitalizing.