Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu Rasam


side angle shot of Paruppu Rasam in a small wok

Learn to make this easy Paruppu rasam by following these steps. It’s a comforting South Indian broth or soup made with tamarind & lentils. Serve with rice.

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

Rasam and South Indians go hand in hand, well we literally have our hands in them! 😉 For those who do not know what Rasam is, it’s made with tamarind, lentils and special spices. It is thinner than soup, has a broth like consistency and is had with rice along with any curry on the side. It is tangy and sometimes spicy to taste. For us South Indians, this is our vegetarian “Chicken Soup for the soul”. We can have it everyday if given a chance plus we have it when we are sick too, because its nutritious, rich in protein, easy to digest and helps heal quickly. It tastes best when hot and is very easy to make. I personally believe that all our mothers can make the world’s best rasam like they make everything else better than us. Our entire home would be so aromatic whenever mom would make rasam. My MIL makes very good rasam too. Although, there are many variations to make it and each family has its own recipe. 

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

I do have the traditional rasam recipe on the blog and you can read all about it here. I always had a mental block when it came to making rasam as I felt mine never tasted like my mom’s. Over time, this feeling has reduced and I do enjoy making it every now and then without being too harsh or judgmental on myself. As a family, we have many rasam recipes that we make in rotation. Apart from the regular rasam that’s made with tomatoes, there is Cumin and Pepper Rasam which is made when someone is sick in the house. Lemon rasam and Mysore Rasam are two other variations that are very popular. Some other varieties are Rose Rasam, Pineapple and Apple Rasam are some unusual rasam vareties which even I am yet to taste. Today I made one called Paruppu Rasam. It is my mom’s sister’s recipe which she learnt from her MIL. The process is slightly different from the ones I have made before. 

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

Hence I decided to share this recipe with you. This rasam is little different because it does not require you to boil the lentils prior. Instead you need to soak it and then grind it. It is prepared in a tamarind broth like other rasam recipes. There are certain tips to make rasam perfect every time. The whole thing about making rasam right is in the timing. You need to know when to turn off the gas. Over cooking the rasam takes away the taste. So you need to be alert and careful. When you see the froth on top after the first boil, that is your cue to take it off the gas. Also using a good quality rasam powder which is a spice mix made with different roasted lentils and red chillies is crucial to the recipe. We only make it at home and I will share that recipe soon. It is popularly served with steamed rice and some curry on the side. However,  it is enjoyed as a soup as well. Since it is tangy, spicy and flavorful, everyone loves rasam!

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

Let’s make Paruppu Rasam! Soak chana dal and tur dal (together) for about 40 minutes. Drain the water. Grind the lentils along with red chillies, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro, curry leaves and salt, coarsely. Dilute this paste with 1 cup water, mix it to ensure there are no lumps. Soak the tamarind ball in hot water for 15 minutes. Press the tamarind to remove its juice and throw away the pulp. Pour this tamarind juice into a pan. Add 1 cup of water, rasam powder, turmeric powder, coriander cumin powder, asafoetida and salt. Cook it on medium flame. Bring this to a boil. Add the diluted lentil paste. Mix well. Cook it on medium. Take the pan off the flame as soon as you start to see froth on top. Garnish with some chopped cilantro. Give a tempering or tadka of dried red chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds in ghee. Pour this over the rasam. Mix it well. Serve this hot with rice or just drink it as a soup.

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

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Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu Rasam

Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

Learn to make this easy Paruppu rasam by following these steps. It’s a comforting South Indian broth or soup made with tamarind & lentils. Serve with rice.

To make the lentil paste

  • 1/3 cup tur dal
  • 1/3 cup chana dal
  • 1 large tomato (roughly chopped)
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • Half inch ginger
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 5-6 curry leaves

To make the Rasam

  • 1 lemon size ball of tamarind/imli
  • 2 tbsp rasam powder/sambhar powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander cumin powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt as required
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

To make the tadka

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 dried red chillies

To make the lentil paste

  1. Soak chana dal and tur dal (together) for about 40 minutes. Drain the water.

  2. Grind the lentils along with red chillies, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro, curry leaves and salt, coarsely.

  3. Dilute this paste with 1 cup water, mix it to ensure there are no lumps.

To make the Rasam

  1. Soak the tamarind ball in hot water for 15 minutes.

  2. Press the tamarind to remove its juice and throw away the pulp. Pour this tamarind juice into a pan.

  3. Add 1 cup of water, rasam powder, turmeric powder, coriander cumin powder, asafoetida and salt.

  4. Cook it on medium flame. Bring this to a boil.

  5. Add the diluted lentil paste. Mix well. Cook it on medium.

  6. Take the pan off the flame as soon as you start to see froth on top. Garnish with some chopped cilantro.

To make the tadka

  1. Give a tempering or tadka of dried red chillies, mustard seeds and cumin seeds in ghee. Pour this over the rasam. Mix it well.

  2. Serve this hot with rice or just drink it as a soup.

The whole thing about making rasam right is in the timing. You need to know when to turn off the gas. Over cooking the rasam takes away the taste. So you need to be alert and careful. When you see the froth on top after the first boil, that is your cue to take it off the gas.

Also using a good quality rasam powder which is a spice mix made with different roasted lentils and red chillies is crucial to the recipe.

To make this dish vegan, give the tadka in regular cooking oil instead of ghee. 

You can also use tamarind paste in this recipe. 

Frying a tbsp of chopped cilantro along with the tadka gives it a good taste. 

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Tamarind & Lentil Soup | Traditional Paruppu RasamSoups & Lentils South Indian

If you love a good South Indian spread, then definitely check out these recipes – South Indian Chickpeas Curry | Chettinad Kondai Kadalai Kuzhambu, South Indian Mini Masala Uttapam With Vegetables, South Indian Tomato Almond Chutney For Idli/Dosa, How to Make Traditional South Indian Arachuvitta Sambhar (With Tips), Easy South Indian Coconut Chutney Recipe, South Indian Medu Wada | Lentil Fritters, South Indian Spinach & Lentils Keerai | Kootu | Curry, South Indian Spicy Potato Fry Curry, South Indian Style Tomato Rice, Traditional South Indian Curd Rice | Thayir Sadam and Radish Chutney/Mulangi Thogayal/South Indian Chutney.

 

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