Rasam Cabbage Rolls: An Easy Innovative Dinner Recipe
Image Credit: hpholo/Instagram

Coming from the Sanskrit term meaning  "essence" and, by extension, "liquid" or "soup this classic dish is prepared as a liquid broth soured with kokum and flavoured with tomatoes, lentils and spices. Historically it was supposed to have originated in the Pandiyan period when the king’s son was unwell and unable to eat a lot of solid food and a reward was offered to anyone who could create a dish that he could eat. Karunas a Brahmin priest took up the challenge and made a light broth with local, seasonal ingredients such as lemon, curry leaves, gooseberries, pineapple, black pepper, salt, and turmeric before boiling them in water. This was a hit and in addition to the reward, Karunas earned many fans for the dish.

But since Rasam on its own isn’t very filling Instagrammer @rootedinspice has created a delicious dish featuring cabbage rolls that honours the flavours of rasam while bulking out the dish into a complete meal. With rice, lentils and a variety of delicious vegetables, these Cabbage Rasam Rolls are a wonderful, homely treat to enjoy for dinner. 



  • 1 small cabbage head
  • 1 cup masoor lentils 
  • ½ cup rice


  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms of choice
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 small tomato diced or a few tbsp of canned tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ curry leaf powder (optional)

Rasam Powder:

  • 1 tbsp chana dal roasted
  • ½ tsp peppercorns roasted 
  • 1 tbsp roasted coriander powder 
  • ¼ tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 2 dried red chillies roasted
  • 1 pinch of hing

Rasam Sauce:

  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green chilli, chopped 
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 16oz no salt canned tomatoes
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • ½ tsp of tamarind concentrate (this is strong so start small add more if you need it)
  • 1 tsp jaggery or sugar


  • To cook the masoor rinse ½ cup dry lentils and add to a pressure cooker with 1 cup water and ½ tbsp bouillon paste or just use a cup of stock and pressure cook on high, for 2-3 whistles until they’re soft and tender.
  • Boil the head of the cabbage for 5-10 minutes until the leaves are loose. 
  • Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. 
  • To make the filling just start adding all the ingredients for the filling along with the cooked rice and masoor dal and cook it down until soft and then wrap a spoonful of filling tightly in each cabbage leaf. 
  • Blend all the ingredients for the rasam powder into a fine powder. 
  • In the pan add some oil and then add fenugreek and mustard seeds until they splutter before adding the garlic, chillies, and curry leaves.
  • After 20 add tomatoes, water, rasam powder, turmeric, tamarind, and jaggery.
  • Let it come to a simmer and taste - if too acidic, add a bit more jaggery, if too thick, add more water. Leave as is in the pan or blend for a smooth consistency.
  • Add your cabbage rolls in and bring to a simmer on low-med heat and cover until cabbage is fork tender. 
  • Top with chopped coriander and serve warm.