Homemade rasam powder | Saarina pudi step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
What is Rasam
Rasam is a spicy-tangy-sweet lentil soup made with toor dal (pigeon pea), tomatoes, tamarind, and rasam powder. Rasam is called 'saaru' in Kannada. The most common rasam I prepare is Mysore rasam. While a typical rasam is watery and served mostly like a soup, Mysore rasam is prepared thick and is served with rice.
Rasam/saaru is very different from sambar in terms of texture and ingredients. Typically, sambar is thick and creamy dal made using vegetables whereas rasam is thin, runny, soup-like made mostly with tomatoes (and no other vegetable). Rasam is tangier and uses a good amount of tamarind along with tomatoes. Rasam can also be made with raw mangoes. Sambar is served not just with lunch or dinner, it is also served as an accompaniment with south Indian breakfast like idli or dosa. Rasam, on the other hand, is served only with rice as a part of lunch or dinner. Traditionally, it is not served as an accompaniment with idli or dosa.
Not only is rasam famous for its deliciousness, but it is also known for its health benefits. A warm bowl of rasam is considered a cure for the common cold and flu-like symptoms. Rasam helps in facilitating digestion and preventing constipation.
About rasam powder
Rasam powder is the blend of spices that are roasted and ground into a fine powder, which is then used to make rasam.
Rasam powder has many variations - it varies from state to state in south India and also varies within regions of each state. Rasam powder recipe, like many other spice blends, is passed down from generation to generation. My recipe here is what is commonly found in the Mysore region of Karnataka.
While rasam powder is easily available in stores, it cannot match the taste of a freshly ground spice blend. Not just the freshness, homemade spice blends can also be adjusted to suit your taste buds too - for example, adjusting the spice level.
Difference between rasam powder and sambar powder
I have earlier shared more about sambar and my recipe for homemade sambar powder.
While some spices are common between rasam powder and sambar powder, there are some key differences. The most important difference is the texture. Rasam powder has to be ground into a very fine powder whereas sambar powder can be fine to slightly coarse.
In terms of ingredients, chana dal (Bengal gram) and urad dal (black gram) are used in making sambar powder whereas rasam powder does not have any dal in it. Black pepper is a key ingredient in rasam powder whereas it is not used in sambar powder.
Coriander seeds: This is the main spice used in rasam powder. Coriander seeds are the dried fruit of the coriander plant.
Cumin seeds: Cumin seeds are dried seeds of the herb Cuminum cyminum, which belongs to the parsley family.
Dried red chilli: Dried red chilli is ripe chillies that are sun-dried and stored. Usually, in my spice blends, I use two varieties of dried red chilli – one mild which adds a bright red colour (either Byadagi chilli or Kashmiri chilli) and the other hot chilli (Guntur chilli). Both these chillies are named after the places they are grown in.
Black Pepper: Black pepper is a key spice used in rasam powder. Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices, not just in India but across the world. They offer a unique flavour and add heat to the dish they are used in.
Mustard seeds: Mustard is a spice that is very common in south Indian cooking. These tiny seeds come in two varieties – black and yellow mustard. Here, I am using black mustard seeds.
Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds add a pungent flavour to the rasam powder. Fenugreek is used as both herb and spice.
Curry leaves: Curry leaves are an aromatic herb that is an essential part of south Indian dishes and is added in temperings. They are dry-roasted and used in spice blends.
Asafoetida: Asafoetida or hing is one of the lesser-known spices in Indian cooking. It is the dried gum extracted from giant fennel plants. Hing is an age-old medicine used for healing stomach problems including bloating, indigestion, and gas.
Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking. Turmeric root is used both in fresh and dried form. These days, turmeric is easily available in powdered form. Traditionally, dried turmeric roots are used to make rasam powder but since they are not easily available here, I use turmeric powder.
Recipes to try
Rasam powder is mainly used in making rasam. But this versatile spice blend can also be added to make stir-fries and curries very flavourful. Add a teaspoon of rasam powder to beans palya or chayote squash palya to make it even more flavourful. Here are some easy and delicious recipes using rasam powder as the main ingredient.
Basic South Indian thali (lunch platter) featuring rasam/saaru
Storing rasam powder
Homemade rasam powder stays fresh when stored in an air-tight container in a refrigerator. In fact, I prefer to store all my spice blends either in the refrigerator or the freezer as they stay fresh for longer. They can be used straight from both the fridge and the freezer. This recipe here gives me approximately 230 grams of rasam masala powder. You may choose to half or double the recipe as per your need.
Tips for making perfect rasam powder
Do all the dry-roasting on low flame. Heat the frying pan initially and then turn the flame to low before you start dry-roasting.
After adding hing and turmeric powder, mix only for a few seconds (not more than 10 seconds). If not, it will burn.
Rasam powder stays fresh when stored in an air-tight container in a refrigerator. In fact, I prefer to store all my spice blends in either the refrigerator or the freezer as they stay fresh for longer. They can be used straight from both the fridge and the freezer
This recipe here gives me approximately 230 grams of rasam powder. You may choose to half or double the recipe as per your need.
This spice blend is:
- very easy to make
- can be made in a large batch and stored in the freezer
- can be used directly from the freezer or refrigerator without any thawing
- versatile and can be used in stir-fries to make them more flavourful
Step by step instructions
1. Dry-roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds until they are aromatic. Set aside
2. Dry-roast both Byadagi and Guntur chilli
3. The chilli is done when they puff up and turn crispy
4. Dry-roast curry leaves until they are dried and crispy. Set aside
5. Dry-roast black pepper, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds until they are lightly golden
6. Add hing and turmeric and fry for a few seconds
7.Roast hing and turmeric powder for not more than 10 seconds. Set everything aside
8. Let all the ingredients cool down completely
9. Grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mixie
The measurements here gave me approximately 230 grams
How to make rasam powder | Saarina pudi
- 1 cup coriander seeds (dhaniya)
- ½ cup cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 cup Byadagi red chilli (mildly spiced red chilli)
- 5-6 Guntur chilli (hot red chilli)
- ½ cup curry leaves
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi/menthya)
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- ½ tbsp turmeric powder
- ½ tbsp asafoetida (hing)
- Dry-roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds until they are aromatic. Set aside
- Dry-roast both Byadagi and Guntur chilli until they are crispy. Set aside
- Dry-roast curry leaves until they are dried and crispy. Set aside
- Dry-roast black pepper, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds until they are light golden
- Add hing and turmeric and fry for a few seconds (not more than 10 seconds). Set everything aside
- Let all the ingredients cool down completely
- Grind into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mixie
- Store in a dry and clean air-tight container
- After adding hing and turmeric powder, mix only for a few seconds (not more than 10 seconds). If not, it will burn
- Do all the dry-roasting on low flame. Heat the frying pan initially and then turn the flame to low before you start dry-roasting
- This recipe here gives me approximately 230 grams of rasam powder. You may choose to half or double the recipe as per your need
Click here to watch rasam powder web story.