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For the film, see Rasam (film).
Alternative names Saaru
Place of origin India
Region or state South India
Serving temperature Hot or cold
Main ingredients Lentils, tomatoes, water, tamarind pulp
Cookbook:Rasam  Rasam

Rasam, chaaru, saaru or kabir is a South Indian soup,[1] traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, pepper, cumin and other spices as seasonings. Steamed lentils are added along with any preferred vegetables.[2] Nowadays, all the seasonings required are combined and ground beforehand into rasam powder, which is available commercially. In addition to that , like Iced Tea and Cold Coffee, Rasam is also marketed commercially as Chilled Rasam. [3] [4]

It is eaten with rice or separately as a spicy soup. In a traditional meal, it is preceded by a sambar rice course and is followed by curd rice. Rasam has a distinct taste in comparison to the sambar due to its own seasoning ingredients and is usually fluid in consistency.


In Tamil, rasam means "juice". It can refer to any juice, but rasam commonly refers to soup prepared with tamarind or tomato juice with added spices and garnish. Saaru in Kannada or chaaru in Telugu means "essence" and, by extension, "juice" or "soup". Rasa in Tamil means "taste" and also refers to juice. The use of kabir as an alternate name for this dish is most likely in reference to the Indian mystic poet, Kabir, whose poetry of enlightenment was probably associated with the intense flavors in the soup.


Rasam is prepared mainly with black pepper and tamarind or tomato, both ingredients abundant in South India.


Different kinds of rasam are listed below with its main ingredients

  • Thakkali Rasam - tomato puree
  • Poondu Rasam - garlic
  • Inji Rasam - ginger
  • Mudakathan Rasam - balloon vine
  • Elumichai Rasam - lemon juice
  • Nellikkai Rasam - Indian gooseberry
  • Murungai Poo Rasam - drumstick flower
  • Vepam Poo Rasam - neem flower
  • Pineapple Rasam/Beetroot Rasam - respective fruits/beet
  • Kandathippili rasam - greens
  • Bassaaru/Kattu saaru - boiled vegetables/greens/lentils
  • Milagu Rasam (Mulligatawny) - black pepper
  • Jeera Rasam - jeera
  • Puli Rasam - tamarind extract
  • Hesaru Kaalu Saaru - Green gram
  • Parupu Rasam / Pappu Saaru - pulses and tomato stock
  • Baellae Saaru - toor dal
  • Majjiga Saaru - seasoned buttermilk
  • Kattina Saaru - jaggery
  • Kollu Rasam, Hurali saaru or Ulava Saaru - horse gram
  • Mysore Rasam - fried grams/dals[5]
  • Koli Saaru - chicken
  • Kadale Saaru - black chickpeas
  • Alasundae Saaru - black eyed peas
  • Venkaaya Saaru - onion
  • Kattu saaru - lentils and Byadgi chillies
  • Tili saaru - sieving water from plain rice

See also[edit]