Rasam Recipe (South Indian Hotel Style)

Updated: November 2, 2022, By Swasthi

Rasam Recipe – Simple, easy & quick recipe to make delicious Hotel style Rasam at home. Also known as Saaru in Kannada and Chaaru in Telugu, Rasam is a most basic and essential dish served in a South Indian meal. It is commonly eaten with plain rice and a vegetable side dish. But it can also be served as a soup. This South Indian rasam recipe needs no rasam powder, no dal & can be made in a jiffy with pantry staples. Make this Hotel style Rasam at home with my easy recipe. Bonus! I also share a fast garlic rasam in the same post.

Rasam made in South Indian restaurant style

About Rasam

So What is Rasam? Rasam is a South Indian traditional soup made with tamarind, tomatoes, warming spices and aromatic herbs. The word Rasam means “juice” in Tamil and Telugu. It may mean any juice.

Here in this context, Rasam is a soup like dish where juices of tangy Tamarind or tomatoes are simmered with tempered whole spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek & black pepper. These spices apart from adding flavor also aid in digestion.

This humble and comforting soup is said to possess a lot of medicinal values as it is simmered with healing spices. Since it aids digestion it is great to have even during cold & stomach upsets.

Rasam is a staple in many traditional South Indian homes. I make this when I have no pre-made rasam powder & in a hurry to make dinner.

My Rasam Recipe

The taste of this rasam comes very close to the one served with a South Indian meal in any good restaurant. It tastes slightly tangy, mildly sweet & flavorful from cumin, pepper powder and garlic.

This is so simple that even beginners can make it. This rasam is also suitable to serve babies & toddlers. For babies skip the red chilli and black pepper. Pass the rasam through a strainer before mixing it with mashed rice. For toddlers skip red chili and reduce black pepper.

You can also refrigerate and consume within 2 days. Bring it to a rolling boil before serving.

Here are some vegetable stir fry dishes to serve with rice & rasam
Potato stir fry
Sweet potato stir fry
Brinjal stir fry
Bhindi stir fry
Carrot stir curry / fry

Photo Guide

How To Make Rasam (stepwise photos)

1. To a pan, add ¼ teaspoon methi seeds & one dried red chilli. On a low flame, dry roast them until methi turns slightly aromatic. Then add 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera) and ¼ to ½ tsp pepper corn.

Roast all of them until methi seeds turn slightly dark in color and aromatic. If making for baby or toddler skip red chili and use less pepper. Cool them and add to a grinder jar.

add roasted spices to blender

2. You can also coarsely crush it in a mortar pestle. Set aside. You can also skip this roasting part & just powder the spices directly but the aroma is great when roasted.

make a fine powder of spices

3. Add 1½ tablespoon oil to a hot pot. When the oil turns hot, add half broken red chili, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ½ teaspoon mustard seeds.

Tempering spices in pot

4. Soon they begin to splutter, then add 3 to 4 crushed garlic, 1 sprig curry leaves and then a pinch of hing. Saute well until the leaves turn crisp.

fry garlic curry leaves to make rasam recipe

5. Add 1 to 1½ cups chopped or mashed tomatoes or pureed (about 2 to 3 medium tomatoes). Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric.

adding tomatoes to make rasam recipe

6. Cover and cook or saute until the tomatoes turn mushy.

cook tomatoes to mushy to make rasam recipe

7. Add spice powder or rasam powder from step 1.

adding rasam powder to pot

8. Mix and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. The spice powder must smell good.

saute tomato with spice powder to make rasam recipe

9. Pour 2½ to 3 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon tamarind. Less is fine but don’t a lot.

add tamarind water to make rasam

10. Add jaggery to taste. I use about 1 to 2 tablespoons to balance the flavors. So adjust to your taste.

add jaggery to make rasam recipe

11. Bring it to a boil & let simmer for 5 minutes. Rasam boiled on a low flame tastes good. Stir well and take little rasam in a tablespoon. Cool it and taste test. Add more salt, tamarind and jaggery if needed.

simmer on a medium heat

12. Add ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves with stalks. Cover and turn off the stove.

adding coriander leaves to rasam

Serve Rasam with steamed rice and some papad, stir fry veggies.

rasam recipe

You may like to check these
Tomato rasam
Tamarind rasam – without tomato
Lemon rasam

Rasam powder recipe.


Is rasam good for health?

Yes rasam is considered to be one of the healthiest South Indian dishes. Spices like cumin, fenugreek & pepper are said to improve digestion and help in building immunity by detoxifying the body naturally.

What does rasam taste like?

It tastes slightly sour, spicy and hot with bursting flavors of spices. A well-made rasam has the right balance or sour, sweet and hot tastes.

Can I use store bought rasam powder?

Yes use any store bought rasam powder. But the specialty of my rasam recipe is in the spice powder I mentioned in the recipe below. With the spice powder mentioned here it is super flavorful and delicious.

Is there any substitute for spices?

Whole spices are the key to a good rasam. So there are no substitutes.

Rasam served in a white bowl with poriyal on the side

Basic Rasam vs Tomato Rasam

For a basic recipe, the spice powder is made without lentils and coriander seeds. Roasted cumin, pepper and fenugreek seeds are crushed or powdered and used. But the spice powder used to make tomato rasam has a small amount of lentils & coriander seeds added to it as a thicker.

So both the versions taste completely different & even the consistency is different. Basic rasam is on the thinner side.

How to make Garlic Rasam?

Pour ½ cup water to a pot and heat it. Add a lemon sized ball of tamarind and let it soften. Then add another 1½ cups water and extract the juice. Discard the pulp.

To the same bowl, add the spice powder we made in the recipe along with 8 well crushed medium garlic cloves. Add jaggery and salt to taste. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the flame to low. Simmer it for 5 minutes. Add coriander leaves and turn off.

Make a tempering in 1 tsp hot ghee by adding ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 1 red chilli & 1 sprig curry leaves. When the garlic cloves turn slightly golden, add 1/8 tsp hing. Pour this to the garlic rasam.

Recipe Card

rasam recipe

Rasam Recipe | South Indian Hotel Style

5 from 277 votes
Rasam is a light South Indian traditional soup made with basic spices, ripe tomatoes, tamarind and herbs. It is very soothing to the tummy and helps in digestion. This Hotel style Rasam is served with rice but can also be enjoyed as a soup.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings3 to 4

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes or (1 to 1½ cups) chopped or pureed
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ to 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Tamarind (optional, use as needed) or lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon jaggery or sugar (or as needed)
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves with stems chopped finely

for tempering or seasoning rasam

  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 dried red chili (broken) (less spicy kind)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic crushed (optional)

To roast & powder ( or use 1 tsp cumin powder & ½ tsp pepper powder)

  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper corn (black pepper)
  • teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 small dried red chili optional (use less spicy kind)


  • Add ¼ teaspoon methi seeds and 1 dried red chilli to a small pan and begin to dry roast them on a low to medium heat.
  • When the seeds turn light golden, then add 1½ teaspoon cumin seeds & ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper corn. Roast them briefly until the seeds begin to smell good. Turn off the heat.
  • Cool & add this to a grinder or spice jar or mortar pestle. Grind them to a fine powder.


  • Heat oil or ghee in a pot. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds & red chili.
  • When they begin to splutter, add 3 to 4 crushed garlic, 1 sprig curry leaves and a pinch of hing.
  • Saute well for a minute till the leaves turn crisp.

How To Make Rasam

  • Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Saute until the tomatoes breakdown, become mushy & soft.
  • Then add the ground spice powder. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. The spice powder must begin to smell good.
  • Next pour water. Add tamarind and jaggery. Bring this to a boil.
  • Then simmer for 5 minutes after it comes to a boil.  Soon It thickens slightly.
  • Stir well and take little rasam in a tablespoon. Cool this and taste test. Add more salt, jaggery or tamarind to adjust the taste. I make it sweet, sour & hot.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves. Simmer for a minute. Cover and turn off the stove.
  • Serve rasam hot with rice or as a soup.


  1. Feel free to use more jaggery & tamarind as needed. I usually make rasam that tastes sour, sweet & spicy.
  2. If you have rasam powder ready then skip roasting and powdering the ingredients mentioned under “To roast and powder. Use rasam powder as desired.
  3. You can also make this rasam recipe just with 1 tsp cumin powder and half tsp pepper powder.


NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Rasam Recipe | South Indian Hotel Style
Amount Per Serving
Calories 151 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Sodium 333mg14%
Potassium 816mg23%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 725IU15%
Vitamin C 66mg80%
Calcium 105mg11%
Iron 4.9mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Rasam recipe first published in December 2012. Updated & Republished in November 2022.

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Love you all love the recipes

5 stars
My fave recipe including the rasam masala from scratch. I usually love all your recipes as coming from Udupi this is very close to home and heart.

5 stars
Hi Swasthi! I’ve made this for my family 6 or 7 times now. Everyone adores it, kids and adults alike! I can’t reliably source tamarind, so I use lemon. Tonight I tossed in some chopped cauliflower and carrots that were looking sad in the veggie drawer. Absolutely wonderful! Thanks for the recipe!

5 stars
Delicious soup. I use chicken broth and maybe 5 cups. And I use both tamarind and lemon. Love it.

5 stars
I have read so many of your tasty recipes and had written in my recipe book and tested. Those recipes gave me wonderful results. I am a Sir Lankan Sinhalese 84 years old Male. Thankyou for your great recipes .

5 stars
Perfect rasam recipe!!! I added one tablespoon of boiled and strained tuvar dal but that was the only change. My husband declared it multiple time as the ‘best rasam that I have ever had’. ??????

5 stars
This is my go to recipe for Rasam! Every time I have made rasam its always tasted so fresh, delicious and gets consumed in no time 🙂 The balance of sweet, sour and spice is what makes this recipe stand out from other recipes! Thank you!

5 stars
Finally.. I got the perfect rasam. Super.. thank you again and again ☺️

5 stars
I live by myself & cook to survive. Your website is a one stop treasure and I keep trying different recipes. I love this simple rasam and make it every weekend to serve on the weeknights. I stir fry some veggies to go with this rasam and rice on the busy weeknights. Thank you for the beautiful website and clear instructions.

5 stars
This tastes delicious!! Parents loved it too, thank you so much 🙂

tried this recipe yesterday while it was raining in the evening.Rasam came out very delicious and the right thing for the evening. everyone loved it. thank Swasthi


Thank you for sharing this recipe. Do you have a link for a spice grinder you suggest?

5 stars
Shockingly surprised how easy it’s to make this. And how delicious it is. Best thing to have when you feel run down with a cold. Comfy food.

5 stars
Love ur recipe

5 stars
Our rasam turned out really well! Thank you! This is a keeper.

5 stars
Love this! I can have this on its own with rice! So simple but so yummy!

5 stars
Please Ingrediants grams lo teliyacheyandi

5 stars
Nice nga

5 stars
Hi, the plain rasam was a staple in our family in Fiji, especially my mum’s. They are telegu and the first thing they did in the morning was a pot of rasam. My mum made dhal, tomato rasam as well which I preferred.
My dad was a Tamil and although in his family in India rasam was a staple; for some reason he wouldnt recommend us eating it, only occasionally. He reckoned that the water in Fiji was not suitable for rasam. We never understood why.

What do you think

5 stars
Easy to cook and tasty also

5 stars
Super Easy and delicious rasam.. Thank you so much