Mysore Rasam: Tried This Yummy South Indian-Style Soup Yet?

The many elements in a South Indian meal make it an eclectic fare. One such dish is the delicious Rasam, a South Indian fare that is usually either served with meals or savoured with rice. It is a soup-like dish with tamarind as a base, which is tempered with sharp spices. 

It tastes similar to sambar, a South Indian vegetable stew with a lentil base, but there are fewer ingredients and the consistency is more liquidy. Rasam can either be savoured, on its own, as a soup or eaten with a meal. It also makes for a lovely, light meal with rice. Its heavenly taste is enhanced with rice and papadum, making it the ultimate comfort meal of sorts. 

There are different types of rasam flavours - tomato, tamarind, garlic, lemon, pepper, drumstick, toor dal, pineapple, and more. The recipe recommended below is Mysore Rasam, which is made with lentils (toor dal) and fresh coconut, along with the other basic rasam ingredients.    

Rasam is also known as ‘saaru’, ‘saathamudhu’, ‘chaaru’, and ‘chaatambde’, etc. It is believed that rasam has been derived from the Sanskrit word, rasa, which means ‘juice’. And it is also said that rasam was so loved by the British, during the Colonial period, that it inspired the invention of Mulligatawny, a kind of soup. 

Rasam is also said to have some health benefits. It is recommended to drink Rasam when one is down with a cold, as it contains Vitamin C. It is also said to aid digestion, help in weight loss, and controls high blood sugar. Mysore Rasam is best savoured with rice or along with a meal. Here is the recipe.


  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 1 tsp chickpea lentil
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tamarind 
  • Cumin seeds 
  • Mustard seeds 
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • Refined oil
  • Turmeric powder
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • Curry leaves 
  • 1 small piece jaggery
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt, as per taste


  • Boil the toor dal and keep aside.
  • Chop tomatoes into small cubes. 
  • Soak tamarind in water, mix, and extract the juice. 
  • In a pan, fry, in two teaspoons of oil,  coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, one dry red chilli, a dash of hing, and one teaspoon chickpea lentil. 
  • Let the chickpea lentil turn brown. Then add grated coconut, and fry for two more minutes.
  • Take the above mixture and grind it in a mixie. Keep the powder aside.
  • Add the tomatoes, tamarind juice, half cup water, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt to taste, and mix. Then add jaggery and mix.
  • Add the cooked toor dal, and 1 cup of water, add a little more salt, and bring to a boil. Take off from fire.
  • In a separate pan, in 2 teaspoons of oil or ghee add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and one dry red chilli, and allow it to splutter.
  • Add the above to the rasam, garnish with coriander, and serve hot.