Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemongrass Rasam (Lemongrass Scented Light Indian Soup)

A lovely light lemony soup for anytime! I love serving this and other rasams as appetizers or starters with roasted papadams, chundal, or buttered sourdough toast fingers. Rasam is equally good served with a couple of spoonfuls of hot rice.

A very quick and tasty Rasam if you have reserved dal broth ready to use. Although fresh is best, dried lemongrass may be used if fresh ones are unavailable.

I like to remove the skin from tomatoes so there are no skins floating around in the lovely rasam.

Makes about 1 Quart = 4 to 6 Appetizer Servings
OR 2-3 Main meal Servings


1/4 cup Toor Dal, cooked until very soft in 2 cups of water (see Rasam)
1 or 2 stalks Lemongrass, crushed and coarsely chopped
2 Ripe Tomatoes
1 or 2 tsp Rasam powder, or to taste

1 Lime
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro


2 tsp Ghee/Oil
1/4 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 stalk Fresh Curry Leaves, finely sliced


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the chopped lemongrass; cover and let steep covered for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves out and set aside the flavored broth.

While lemongrass is brewing, bring a small pan of water to a boil; immerse the tomatoes for 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside to cool. When cool, peel the skin off and cut in half, gently squeeze out all the seeds through a strainer set over a bowl. Discard the seeds; chop the pulp coarsely and combine with the juices in the bowl.

Combine tomatoes with 1/2 cup of fresh water in a 2 or 3 quart (liter) pan with salt, turmeric, and rasam powder and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the dal water (save the dal for another dish such as simple dal or a soup) along with the lemongrass water into the tomato mixture.

Simmer the rasam over medium heat until foamy but not boiling. Remove from heat.

Make the thalippu: heat the ghee/oil is a small pan and when hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start popping quickly stir in cumin seeds, then the asafetida and curry leaves. Remove from heat and pour immediately into the rasam carefully - the hot fat coming in contact with the rasam can sizzle and splash.

Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the juice from the lime and the chopped cilantro leaves just before serving.

Serve hot in small bowls or cups or in soup bowls over rice.


Anonymous said...

Awesome. I am going to try this :)

Geetha said...

Hi Sheela, It is a lovely lemony rasam; let me know how you like it. Happy Cooking!