Friday, September 21, 2007

Lemon or Lime Rasam

Lemon/Lime Rasam is a delicate soup with a bright citrus flavor. A rasam of one kind or another was always a must in our grandparents' home. Rasams are part of the everyday meals as well as banquets in South India. They make a fabulous beginning or end to a meal or a light meal with rice.

Rice mixed with Lemon/Lime Rasam, carrot salad, cabbage thoran,
roasted papadams, and homemade yogurt.


1/8 cup Toor Dal
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground Turmeric

2 medium Tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Rasam Powder
1 large Lime or Meyer Lemon (or a regular lemon)


2 tsp Ghee or oil
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin (Jeera) seeds
1 dry whole Red Chili
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
1 sprig fresh Curry leaves
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Coriander/Cilantro (Dhania/Kothumalli)


Cook Toor dal with the pinch of turmeric and salt in 2 cups of water until very soft and creamy; set aside.

Place the chopped tomatoes in a 2 qt saucepan with turmeric, salt, rasam powder and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tomatoes are very soft. Mash the dal thoroughly and add enough water to make 3 cups altogether. Add to the tomatoes in the pan. Simmer on medium to low heat until foamy; do not allow it to boil. Turn off heat.

In a small pan prepare the tadka/talippu: heat the ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chili. Cover and cook until the seeds pop and finish their dance; turn off the heat. Quickly add asafoetida and the curry leaves and cover again to avoid the hot oil splashing as fresh curry leaves pop and sputter in the hot oil. Add the whole thing carefully to the rasam. Add the chopped cilantro and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Cut the lime or lemon in half and squeeze the juice. Discard any seeds and the rinds. Stir in the juice, mix well and serve hot in mugs/bowls by itself or mixed with softly cooked rice. Enjoy!


Pappadums (fried or roasted) and simple vegetable curries make wonderful companions for rasam.

If fresh tomatoes are unavailable one can still make this rasam with canned or dried tomatoes or even none at all. If tomatoes are not used, then increase the amount of lime/lemon juice to taste.


Shobhaa said...

I do remember the good old days which were exactly like this Rasam.

PS: I did try the payasam recipe with the sugar substitute ( Sugar Rite - no aspartame or saccharin)and it came out very well and was literally slurped up by all in the office!

God bless!

Geetha said...

I am very glad to hear that your experiment was a grand success! Thanks for sharing your success, Shobha! God bless you always too!