Mamta's Kitchen

Lentil Soup - South Indian Rasam

Rasam Soup

Mamta Gupta

This is a more diluted version of the South Indian 'Sambhar'. It is rather hotter than the Western lentil soup. Serves 6


  • 1 cup red lentil (dhuli masoor dal)

  • 3-4 cups water

  • 200-400 gm. vegetable mix - aubergine, okra, beans, potatoes, carrots etc., chopped into small pieces

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • A few curry leaves (not bay leaves)

  • 1 tbsp. tamarind puree* (Imli ka gooda). If tamarind is not available, use 2 heaped tbs. tomato puree and juice of half a lemon.

  • 2 cups hot water

  • 2 tbsp. Sambhar Powder 1 or Sambhar Powder 2 or buy ready made

  • 1 tsp. salt (to taste)

  • For tarka or tempering

  • 1-2 tbsp. oil

  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds or rai

  • A large pinch of asafoetida powder

  • 2 red chillies, broken into 2-3 pieces each

  • *Tamarind puree can be bought in jars from Asian grocers. It is much better than the dark coloured tamarind concentrate usually found in Indian stores, it is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed.


  1. Wash lentils and boil in 3-4 cups of water, until soft. Keep aside.

  2. Dissolve tamarind puree in 2 cups of hot water and bring to boil in a pan.

  3. Add sambhar powder, salt and all the vegetables and curry leaves.

  4. Cook briskly until all vegetables are tender.

  5. Add cooked lentil and mix thoroughly.

  6. Adjust salt and the consistency of the soup to you liking.

  7. Tempering:

  8. In a ladle or a small pan, heat oil.

  9. Add mustard seeds and asafoetida powder and broken red chillies. Once the seeds splutter, add it to the rest of the soup. Cover immediately and let the flavours seep/infuse.

  10. Serve hot.

  11. Also see Soup Selection and Dal Selection.


  • It can be garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

  • You can make it without the vegetables too.

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