Lemon Rasam / South Indian Lentil Soup Flavored with Lemon

Lemon Rasam / South Indian Lentil Soup Flavored with Lemon

If every chef has a signature dish, this one has to be mine.

This dish has a mind of its own – and I mean it. I have never got it tasting the same twice, ever. Just adjusting the amount of dal-tomatoes-lemon-pepper-cumin-water, simply put – any ingredient in this dish – is all it takes to give the dish a different color/taste/texture every time you make it and also makes it easy enough to cater to every palette out there. And that is precisely why I am going to find it very difficult to provide an exact measure in this recipe – my suggestion: make it so it is just RIGHT for you – that’s what I do!

So, how does my version of the rasam taste? Well, to me, the only way I could describe the rich, lemony goodness of this hearty dish is by saying that it simply feels like coming home ūüôā

Source: Mom

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  1. Split Toor Dal / Pigeon Peas Р1/4 cup (increase or decrease to get desired thickness)
  2. Tomatoes – 1 large or to taste, chopped into large pieces
  3. Green chilies – 3 or to taste, slit
  4. Garlic – 2 pods, minced or crushed
  5. Turmeric powder – a pinch
  6. Asafoetida – a pinch
  7. Rasam powder – 1/2 tbsp, any variety (see notes below for my rasam powder recipe)
  8. Lemon juice – from 1 large lemon, or to taste
  9. Oil – 2 tbsp
  10. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Curry leaves – few
  12. Coriander leaves – a few stems chopped, for garnishing
  13. Salt to taste


  1. Pressure cook the following with sufficient water until dal is fully done & mash-able: dal, tomatoes, chilies, garlic, hing, turmeric, few drops oil
  2. Mash the pressure cooked mixture, taking care not to fully mash the tomatoes.
  3. Add water to bring rasam to desired consistency.
  4. Add rasam powder and salt – check taste to make sure everything is as desired or adjust at this point if needed.
  5. Heat some oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves and let it crackle.
  6. Pour in the rasam mixture and cook on med-high until the rasam comes to a boil – turn off the heat right away.
  7. Add the lemon juice and coriander leaves.

Serve as a soup or with rice and get ready to go home!


  1. My rasam powder: Grind together 2 parts of peppercorns with 3 parts of cumin or jeera seeds into a coarse powder. That’s it, really! I make it in bulk and store for my frequent cravings ūüėõ
  2. If you already have pre-cooked dal or some left over from another dish, you could skip pressure cooking the ingredients in step#1 and instead simply prepare the rasam concoction with the mashed dal and the other ingredients listed in step #1 and step #4 and directly add to the pan after the tempering and let it cook right there.
  3. You could substitute toor dal with yellow moong dal, either partially or wholly, for a lighter version of the rasam.
  4. Make sure you add the lemon juice after turning off the heat, as otherwise it tends to impart a bitter flavor to the rasam.
  5. Quickie version: If you are in a hurry, you could even skip the tempering all together and completely finish up the dish in the pressure cooker – after pressure cooking the¬†ingredients, add the water, rasam powder and salt and bring to a boil and turn off and add lemon juice in the end – that’s it!
4 Responses to “Lemon Rasam / South Indian Lentil Soup Flavored with Lemon”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Serve hot with steamed white rice and curry of choice. Family favorites include mor curry, fish curry and rasam! […]

  2. […] can eat just rasam with rice¬†every day and not get […]

  3. […] week. That was the last straw. Really. I mean, we’re sort of like kadhi-sisters.. or maybe rasam-sisters.. well, just about anything sour and tangy does it for us. So when she tells me that her […]

  4. […] Turn off the heat and serve with hot rice and yogurt or a simple¬†dal/ rasam side! […]

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