This spicy, tangy southern Indian soup is a great start to any meal served with some crisp papadums; it’s also fun in shot glasses for a cocktail party. It’s traditionally served as a light meal over steamed rice, especially to people who are feeling poorly. Rasam means ‘juice’ or ‘essence’ in Tamil and the essential element of this sour pepper soup is that it is light and thin. Yellow lentils are sometimes added and I often include a tablespoon with the water and then simmer it for about 20 minutes until they’re tender. This version has a bit of punch from the pepper, try it first then add more or less pepper or tamarind to suit your preference. Chef Ajoy Joshi of Nilgiri’s Indian Restaurant finishes his off with a dollop of ghee!
Serves 4 as a starter
To make tamarind liquid, mash a small piece of tamarind paste (about 15g) well with about 2 tablespoons of hot water, working the pulp with your fingers to soften it, set aside for 10 minutes or so, then push through a sieve, discarding the solids. See video below.
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