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Rasam (closeup).jpg
Alternative name(s) Saaru
Place of origin India
Region or state South India
Serving temperature Along with parboiled rice
Main ingredient(s) Lentils, tomatoes, water, tamarind pulp

Rasam or Chaaru or Saaru is a South Indian soup,[1] traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of tomato, and 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.

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 language, 'Rasam' means 'juice;. It can refer to any juice but simply rasam commonly referred to the one prepared with Tamarind/Tomato juice with added spices. Saaru in Kannada language or Chaaru in Telugu language, means essence and by extension juice or soup.[3] 'Rasa' in Sanskrit means taste [4] and also refers to juice.[5]


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[6]
  • 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]