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(South Indian tamarind soup)


Rasam is a close relative of sambhar but it is thinner and is therefore often served as a spicy soup. Try it on cold winter nights!


preparation time: 15 minutes + 1 hour soaking

cooking time: 30 minutes

serves 4


1 to 1.5 cups channa dal, soaked for 1 hour and drained

6 cups of water, or adjusted to desired consistency


1 tsp jaggery or brown sugar

2 tbls oil or ghee

1 tsp black mustard seeds

pinch of asafetida (this is powerful and pungent-be cautious)

1 tsp curry powder

4 whole cloves garlic, peeled

1 tsp tamarind paste diluted in 2 tbls water

1 tsp sambhar powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cayenne powder

2 tbls coriander leaves, chopped (cilantro)


bring the lentils to a boil in the water and simmer until soft. add the salt and brown sugar, mixing until they dissolve.


Heat the oil in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the cumin, asafetida, curry powder, and whole garlic. Saute for a minute.


Then add the tamarind and cook until it becomes thick and bubbly. Stir the in powder spices.


Pour the lentils into the tamarind mixture, bring to a boil and remove from the heat immediately. Serve hot with fresh cilantro.



From The Indian Spice Kitchen, by Monisha Bharadwaj. Hippocrene Books, Inc., 2000.


Copyright 2004 West-Art, Prometheus 91/2004

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 91, Spring 2004