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Garlic rasam or aromatic lentil soup
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5 from 3 votes

Garlic Rasam, an aromatic lentil soup

A spicy, aromatic Garlic Rasam or lentil soup with ginger, coriander, turmeric, curry leaves, and tomatoes. It's the most potent weapon to fight off the sniffles in a south Indian kitchen.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 8 servings


  • ¼ cup split pigeon peas tuvar dal
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp asafetida hing
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 moderately hot green chili pepper like jalapeno, minced
  • 2 leaves sprigs of curry about 24 leaves
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves
  • ½ tbsp tamarind extract
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced
  • 2 teaspoons heaping rasam powder you can also just buy this online or at an Indian store
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


  • Cook the dal with turmeric in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop with 2 cups of water until it's really soft. Use a whisk to mash the dal up. Do not discard the stock.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor, crush 2 cloves of garlic, the green chili pepper, and cumin seeds to a coarse paste.
  • Crush the remaining garlic cloves slightly but let them hold their shape.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  • Add the mustard seeds and, when it sputters, add the asafetida.
  • Add the cumin-garlic-chili paste, stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and crushed, whole garlic. Stir-fry for a few seconds until the garlic starts to very slightly change color.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir-fry until they just start to turn mushy.
  • Add the tamarind extract with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the rasam powder and continue to boil for another five minutes.
  • Add the cooked dal/lentils to the saucepan with salt to taste. Bring the rasam to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium, and let it boil for another five minutes. If it starts to get thick, add water. Rasam should have a very watery consistency, although if you prefer it thick, you can add less water.
  • Check salt and add more if needed.
  • Serve very hot over rice or in a glass or bowl.