Jeera Rasam (Pepper Cumin Rasam)

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Rasam is basically a thinner and more wholesome soup like preparation that is robust and spicy. Rasams are popular in South India and can be made in a variety of ways. This Jeera Rasam is one of the common ones. It is a hot, spicy and tangy rasam version made essentially with cumin seeds, black pepper and other ingredients. This South Indian style thin soup variety is an excellent way to comfort and warm the body during winters or monsoons. The recipe is easy and vegan as well.

jeera milagu rasam served in a steel bowl with a spoon kept on the right side.

About Jeera Rasam

This Jeera Rasam with all your basic ingredients from the kitchen, can be easily prepared. Most of the time that is required in this recipe is to soak the tamarind and rest of the procedure is as easy as a breeze. This particular recipe doesn’t even need another rasam essential, which is Rasam Powder.

Rasam is a Tamil word that stems from the Sanskrit word ‘rasa,’ which means juice, essence or extract. Since a traditional Rasam Recipe is also based on this principle, it is called so.

Similar is the case with this Jeera Rasam or Jeera Milagu Rasam as well, which basically has a spicy mixture cooked with juices of tamarind and tomato, and then tempered.

Since ‘jeera’ is cumin in English and the Tamil word ‘milagu’ means pepper, the literal translation of the name of this dish simply means Cumin Rasam or Pepper Cumin Rasam.

There are many varieties of rasam made in the South Indian cuisine. Each is unique in its own way as there are differences in their flavor, consistency and texture.

Just like this Cumin Rasam, which is a well-known one from Tamil Nadu, there are variations with different names in other regions of India.

For instance, a rasam stays a rasam in Kerala. But is referred to as a ‘saaru’ in Karnataka, ‘Charu’ in Andhra Pradesh and ‘saar’ in Maharashtra. Another famous India inspired pungent British soup is the ‘mulligatawny.’

Rasams are a personal favorite, more when anyone of us at home are going through a stubborn cold or even terrible cough. It is an excellent remedy during such times and really soothes and calms the system.

Along with this Jeera Rasam, there are other varieties that I make at home, especially during winters. These are:

All these versions are delicious and easy to prepare, but also warm and comfort the body so well.

For this specific recipe of rasam, along with pepper and cumin, red chilies, garlic and coriander leaves are also added. Fresh coriander also adds a refreshing hint to it. However, if you want to make this rasam minus garlic, then don’t add the garlic.

Enjoy this rasam just as it is, have it as an appetizer beverage or serve it with steamed rice, sambar and a side dish of vegetable dish like poriyal. Whatever you choose to do, the Jeera Milagu Rasam is always going to be amazing.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Jeera Rasam


1. Soak ½ tablespoon tightly packed seedless tamarind in warm water for 30 minutes.

soaking tamarind in warm water.

2. Then, squeeze the soaked tamarind to get the pulp. Strain the tamarind extract and set aside.

soaked tamarind squeezed to get the pulp.

3. In a small grinder, take 6 to 7 medium-sized peeled garlic cloves, 2 dried red chilies (halved and seeds removed), ½ tablespoon black peppercorns and ½ tablespoon cumin seeds.

garlic cloved, dried red chilies, black peppercorns and cumin seeds added in a grinder jar.

4. Grind to a coarse or semi-fine mixture.

ingredients ground to a coarse or semi fine mixture for jeera milagu rasam.

Make Jeera Milagu Rasam

5. Heat 1 to 1.5 tablespoons oil in a pan or pot. Splutter 1 teaspoon mustard seeds first.

spluttering mustard seeds in hot oil in a pot.

6. Then, add 8 to 10 curry leaves and the ground spice mixture.

curry leaves and prepared spice mixture added to the pot.

7. Sauté for a minute on low heat ensuring these delicated herbs and spices do not burn.

Then, add ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 to 2 pinches asafoetida (hing) and ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves.

turmeric powder, asafoetida and chopped coriander leaves added to the pot.

8. Stir and mix very well.

ingredients stirred very well.

9. Then, add 1 medium chopped or crushed tomato.

chopped tomato added to the pot.

10. Stir and sauté for a minute or two.

sautéing tomato mixture.

11. Next, add the prepared tamarind extract.

tamarind pulp added to the pot.

12. Pour 1 to 1.25 cups water or as required.

adding water to the pot.

13. Season with salt according to taste.

adding salt to the pot.

14. Stir very well to mix.

ingredients stirred well into the water.

15. Simmer the rasam without a lid till the tomatoes soften and the raw taste of the tamarind is no longer there. This takes about 12 to 15 minutes on low to medium heat.

simmering jeera milagu rasam in the pot.

16. When done, turn off the heat.

boiling cooked jeera milagu rasam.

17. Serve Jeera Rasam plain or accompanied with rice, sambar and a side vegetable South Indian dish like carrot poriyal, beetroot poriyal or cabbage thoran.

You could garnish with some coriander leaves if you like, while serving the Pepper Cumin Rasam.

jeera milagu rasam served in a steel bowl with a portion in a spoon.

Expert Tips

  1. This rasam is quite spicy. But you can adjust the pepper, cumin and red chili quantities according to your likings.
  2. In case the tamarind that you are using has some impurities, make sure to strain it off the impurities and then use the extract.
  3. You can add chopped tomatoes in this recipe. But even crushed tomatoes give it a good flavor and texture.
  4. You can skip adding the garlic in this recipe of rasam.
  5. Since this is a vegan recipe, I have used oil in the tempering. You can even use coconut oil. In case you don’t want to make it vegan, then you can make the tempering in ghee as well.

More Rasam Recipes To Try!

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pepper cumin rasam recipe, milagu jeera rasam recipe

Jeera Rasam (Pepper Cumin Rasam)

Called Jeera Rasam (or Jeera Milagu Rasam in Tamil) and Pepper Cumin Rasam in English; this is a spicy, tangy and robust appetizer made from tamarind, black pepper and cumin. It can be enjoyed as a drink or served with a side of steamed rice.
4.87 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine South Indian
Course Side Dish
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3


To be ground coarsely or semi fine

  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 2 dry red chilies – halved and deseeded
  • 6 to 7 garlic cloves – medium sized, peeled

Other ingredients

  • ½ tablespoon tamarind – tightly packed, soaked in ½ cup hot water
  • 1 tomato – medium-sized, crushed or chopped
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves – chopped, (cilantro)
  • 1 to 1.25 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required

For tempering

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves – medium sized
  • teaspoon turmeric powder roughly 2 to 3 pinches of turmeric powder
  • 1 to 2 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon oil



  • First heat ½ cup water. Soak tamarind in this hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Later squeeze the soaked tamarind to get the pulp. Strain the tamarind extract and set aside.
  • In a grinder, take garlic, red chilies, black pepper and cumin seeds. 
  • Grind coarsely or to a semi-fine texture.

Making pepper cumin rasam

  • Heat oil in a pan or pot. Splutter mustard seeds first.
  • Then add curry leaves and the coarsely ground spices.
  • Sauté for a minute on low heat. Then add turmeric powder, asafoetida and chopped coriander leaves. Mix very well.
  • Next add crushed or chopped tomatoes. Stir and saute for a minute or two.
  • Add tamarind extract and water. Season with salt.
  • Stir and simmer rasam on a low to medium heat, without a lid, until the tomatoes soften and the raw taste of tamarind goes away.
    It takes about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Serve the Jeera Rasam as is or accompanied with rice, sambar and a side of South Indian style sautéed vegetable dish.


  • This Pepper Cumin rasam is spicy. For a moderately or less spiced version, reduce the black pepper and dry red chilies.
  • You can adjust the consistency of rasam as per your choice, by adding more or less water. Adding less water will make the rasam more tangy and hot but do not add too much of water as this will dilute the flavors. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Jeera Rasam (Pepper Cumin Rasam)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 81 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Sodium 399mg17%
Potassium 202mg6%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 645IU13%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.04mg2%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 31mg155%
Vitamin B6 0.1mg5%
Vitamin C 62mg75%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 11µg10%
Calcium 53mg5%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 323µg81%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 21mg5%
Phosphorus 40mg4%
Zinc 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Pepper Cumin Rasam from the archives first published in December 2013 has been updated and republished on June 2024.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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