Rasam Soup

Rasam Soup

Thinking about it, you’d probably never guess from the recipes on my blog that I’m a huge fan of Indian food. I’ve been experimenting with soups recently, trying to find a way of working the great flavours of Indian food into a soup. I’ve consulted lots of websites and recipe books and none of them came up to the mark. After a couple of attempts, I’ve abandoned the idea of sambhar; I just can’t seem to get good results from red lentils.

Somewhere along the way, I came across rasam. It’s a spicy Indian soup, tempered with the usual suspects like cumin, coriander and tamarind. I was keen to try it, but I decided not to adopt any of the recipes I’d read. Instead, I adapted the recipe for my favourite soup, Moroccan Chickpea, and introduced ginger and some Indian spicing. I figured I could keep the lemon juice as a replacement for the more authentic tamarind. It works just as well I’m sure, creating a nice sour note.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • root ginger, a thumb-sized piece, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 8 curry leaves, chopped, or broken if dried
  • 600 ml vegetable stock (Marigold is good)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • large handful chopped fresh coriander


  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and gently fry onion, courgette, celery, ginger and garlic for 10 ten minutes until the onions are coloured and the celery is almost tender. Add the spices and curry leaves and fry for another minute.
  2. Turn up the heat and add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas, and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 8 mins.
  3. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute.
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the chopped fresh coriander, then serve.

Serves 3-4.


4 Responses to “Rasam Soup”

  1. 1 hockeysticks July 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    hi there

    do you think curry paste would do the same job as all the spices?

    • 2 Conor July 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm

      Hi. Absolutely, I think it would do a great job. A nice alternative would be to use a couple of tablespoons of korma paste and add a can of coconut milk, similar to this.

  2. 3 aoife mc July 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Conor, good on ya for keeping at it to get to your happy soup place.

    It’s funny, I’ve had Soup Dragon soup for lunch for the last three days in a row (they have a great deal of €3 for small soup, fruit and bread to go) It’s been kinda soup weather though hasn’t it?? It’s not too cold but….cold enough!

    • 4 Conor July 31, 2009 at 9:52 am

      Hi Aoife. I’ve never heard of Soup Dragon, but I just checked out their website, looks super. “Spicy Veg Gumbo”, I’d have a crack at that…

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