• Heleri Rande

Rasam with Avinash Shashidhara

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Rasam is one of my all-time favourites, and it showcases Karnataka’s black pepper like no other dish. A hot and sour broth made using toor dal, tomato and tamarind as a base, it is flavoured with a good handful of toasted and crushed black pepper, cumin and fresh coriander. It is best served on its own or with a little steamed rice.

Serves 4


100 g yellow toor dal or split red lentils

1 tsp oil, plus 1 tbsp oil for tempering

¼ tsp turmeric

2 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters

1 tsp black peppercorns, toasted and crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed

1 tbsp tamarind pulp

½ bunch coriander

½ tsp mustard seeds

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 dried red chilli

1 sprig curry leaves

1 pinch asafoetida (optional)

salt, to taste


1. Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover them, then add the teaspoon of oil, turmeric and tomatoes, and bring to the boil.

2. Skim the froth and simmer until the lentils and tomatoes are almost mushy, then add water to the mixture to bring it to a broth consistency.

3. Add the black peppercorns, cumin, salt, tamarind pulp and coriander leaves.

4. Continue to cook for a further 10 minutes to extract all the flavours from the spices.

5. In another shallow pan, heat the tablespoon of oil and crackle the mustard seeds, garlic, chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida. Sauté for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn any of the ingredients as the oil can get hot very quickly.

6. Add the temper to the broth and serve with rice or on its own.

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