This Indian Recipe Serves 3-4
Rasam is a popular dish of South India as well as in South Africa & translates to “juice“. It is also referred to as Russo, King Soup, Kabir, Saaru or Chaaru. Tamarind (Puli/Imalee) is one of the main ingredients for this dish.
My maternal grandmother is of the South Indian heritage, so this soup was always in our household. It is fairly easy to prepare & it is packed with loads of flavour including medicinal properties.
King Soup (Rasam) is typically a miracle soup that is perfect for fighting the flu, keeping warm on cold winter days & even works wonders in getting rid of hangovers.
This soup is prepared using jeera (cumin) seeds, fresh dhania (coriander), tamarind (puli/imalee) – these ingredients alone help in eliminating mucous in the membranes. The other ingredients, such as onions, black peppercorns, garlic & mustard seeds are astringents, which aid in drying & breaking down mucous. The dried chilies, tomatoes & turmeric powder have anti-inflammatory properties. These spices typically boost the immune system.
- 3 ½ tablespoons tamarind (puli/imalee)
- 3 cups water
- ½ onion
- 1 tomato
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 4 dried chilies
- 3 sprigs curry leaves
- ½ tablespoon jeera (cumin) seeds
- ½ tablespoon mustard seeds
- 6-8 cloves of garlic
- ½ tablespoon peppercorns
- handful of fresh dhania (coriander)
- Peel & finely chop the onion.
- Blend or chop the tomato. I prefer it blended.
- Peel the garlic cloves & set aside.
- Next, scoop out the Tamarind (puli/imalee) & place into a bowl. There are seedless & seeded tamarind but whichever you have on hand will work.
- Pour in 2 cups of warm water.
- Whilst the bowl has water in it, begin smashing the tamarind with your fingertips. This will allow the tamarind to dilute in the water, hence forming tamarind water (puli water). I have used the seedless tamarind, but if you are using the one with seeds then as you’re smashing the tamarind with your fingertips, remove the seeds & discard of them.
- Once all of the tamarind is combined with the water, you should have a bowl of brownish liquid. Strain it so that excess pulp &/or seeds aren’t in the liquid & set aside until ready to use.
- Next, add the jeera (cumin) seeds & the mustard seeds to a mortar. The peppercorns may also be added but since I have peppercorns that come in a grinder – I opted to just grinding them in – which I will do in the steps to come.
- Use the pestle & smash the jeera (cumin) seeds & the mustard seeds until they are crushed.
- At this stage I cracked in the peppercorns.
- Thereafter, add in the cloves of garlic.
- Use the pestle & smash up the garlic until a paste forms.
- Next, to a medium sized pot, add in the vegetable oil. Once the oil has heated, drop in the onions & the dried chilies.
- Mix & allow to saute until the onions are translucent.
- Thereafter, add in the crushed mixture from the mortar, turmeric powder & the curry leaves.
- Mix well & simmer for 30 seconds.
- Add in the blended or chopped tomato.
- Mix well & simmer for a minute.
- Pour in the tamarind water.
- Add in freshly chopped dhania (coriander).
- Give it a good mix.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat & allow it to simmer for ± 20 minutes.
- After ± 20 minutes, the mixture should be of a thick consistency.
- Pour in 1 cup of water or as needed to achieve the right consistency & add in salt to taste.
- Mix well & turn off the heat.
- Serve this Rasam (King Soup) whilst hot.
- This soup can be poured over rice & be enjoyed with curries such as Potato Curry.
- It may also be strained & poured into a cup so that this Rasam is drinkable.
- Note that this Rasam improves taste the day after, so it is best to prepare it a day in advance for a much more flavorful soup. Although, if you are impatient, just go ahead & devour it.