Lemon Rasam

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While a typical soup maybe full bodied and thick, there are other versions that are thinner, but still super nutritious. Rasam, or a South Indian style flavorful soup, can be placed under this category. One of my chosen ones in this list is this Lemon Rasam recipe. Made with lemon and coriander, this Lemon Rasam is easy to prepare, packs a punch and makes you healthy. It is vegan friendly too.

lemon rasam served in a brown colored bowl with a spoon inside and text layover.

About Lemon Rasam

I usually make rasam during monsoons, or whenever there’s a temperature change. This Lemon Rasam recipe particularly has amazing soothing effects in all those times when you’re troubled by stubborn cold and coughs. It is warming, comforting and nourishing, all at once.

Another hack that I use to especially combat colds is the spicy pani (water) of the pani puri. Definitely gives me an instant relief. In addition to this Lemon Rasam, other variations that are effective for cough and cold are – Pepper Rasam, Beetroot Rasam and Pepper Cumin Rasam.

The major difference between this Lemon Rasam recipe and others is that tamarind is not added in this rasam. It is lemon juice that is the souring agent. Along with it, there’s pigeon pea lentils or tuvar dal and coarsely ground spices.

A crackling tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried red chilies and a few spices is also added to the Lemon Rasam. What you finally achieve is a tangy, spicy and aromatic rasam with citrusy, refreshing notes from the lemon, coriander and warm, earthy flavor from the spices.

As is already popular, the Lemon Rasam is also perfect when had with piping hot rice. My way of doing it is also adding a dry vegetable dish like poriyal or a stir fry with the whole rasam-rice combination. You can even savor it plain like a soup.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Lemon Rasam

Cook Lentils

1. Rinse ¼ cup tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils with water and then add them in a pressure cooker along with a pinch of turmeric powder. 

Add ¾ to 1 cup water and pressure cook for 8 to 9 whistles or till the dal has softened and cooked really well. About 10 to 12 minutes on a medium to high heat.

cooking tuvar dal in a pressure cooker for lemon rasam.

2. When the pressure settles down naturally, check the dal and mash with a spoon or wired whisk. Keep the dal aside.

cooked and mashed tuvar dal.

3. In a small grinder or chutney grinder, take the following spices and herbs:

  • ⅓ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 or 2 green chilies (chopped)
  • ½ inch ginger (roughly chopped)
  • 4 to 5 small to medium garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
chopped coriander leaves, black pepper, chopped green chilies, chopped ginger and garlic added in a grinder jar.

4. Without adding water, grind to a coarse paste. If you prefer, you can also grind to a semi-fine paste. Set aside.

ingredients ground to a coarse paste.

5. Squeeze the juice from lemon and keep aside. I used 1 medium size lemon. You can also use limes. You will need about 2.5 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice.

lemon juice for lemon rasam.

Making Lemon Rasam

6. In a pan or pot, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil (gingelly oil) or any neutral tasting oil. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and fry till the mustard seeds start crackling.

crackling mustard seeds in hot sesame oil in a pan.

7. Then, add 12 to 15 curry leaves and 1 to 2 dried red chilies. Fry till the red chilies change color and darken a bit. Don’t burn them. Fry on low to medium-low heat.

Remove the seeds from the red chillies if you prefer before frying them.

sautéing curry leaves and dried red chilies in the pan.

8. Now, add the ground herbs and spices paste together with a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder. Stir very well.

ground paste, asafoetida and turmeric powder added to the pan.

9. Add the cooked dal.

cooked dal added to the pan.

10. Add 1 to 1.5 cups water. Stir well.

water poured in the pan and stirred well.

11. Season with salt according to taste.

salt added to the pan.

12. On a low to medium heat, simmer the rasam for 5 to 6 minutes.

simmering rasam.

13. Switch off the heat. Wait for 1 minute and then add 2.5 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice.

You can add more or less as required and as per your taste. Instead of lemon, you can also add lime juice. Stir to combine and mix.

lemon juice added to the rasam.

14. Garnish with 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and serve Lemon Rasam hot with steamed rice and a capsicum fry, poriyal or vegetable roast.

lemon rasam garnished with coriander leaves and served in a bowl.

Health Benefits

I’ve already spoken highly of the rasam being super effective in curing common colds and coughs. It is actually touted as the ‘recovery food’ or home remedy by most of the Indian grandmothers.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in a rasam are provided by the spices, ginger and garlic in a rasam. These are essential for keeping the circulatory ailments at bay.

Other than these, rasam is quite handy for digestive problems like constipation and bowel movements in general. Because of the presence of fiber, vitamins and minerals from the various ingredients used to make a rasam, it also aids in fastening metabolism. Thus, helping in weight management.

FAQs

Can I add moong lentils instead of tur dal in this recipe?

Surely you can.

How should I serve this rasam?

The best way to serve any rasam is with steamed rice. Drizzling some ghee on the rice will make it tastier.

Can lime juice be added in this rasam?

For sure. Just adjust the quantity according to your preference.

How can I make this rasam spicier?

By adding more green chilies in the paste.

Can I substitute lemon juice with tamarind in this recipe?

I’d say make this recipe with lemon or lime juice only. For the tamarind version, do check the Tamarind Rasam (Puli Rasam) post on my blog.

Can I skip the garlic?

Yes. But I will still suggest using it as it gives a really good flavor.

Does this rasam have any health benefits?

Of course, it does. It is great for your immunity. Because of the herbs and spices used in it, it is known to help relieve colds as well as strengthen the digestion processes.

Can this rasam be frozen?

Since lentils are included in this recipe, I would suggest freezing this one. The flavors are best when this lemon rasam is had hot or warm as soon as it is prepared.

More Rasam Recipes To Try!

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Lemon Rasam

This Lemon Rasam is a spicy, tangy, delicious rasam made with lemon juice, lentils, spices and herbs. It can served over hot steamed rice or had as soup.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For cooking lentils

  • ¼ cup pigeon pea lentils (tur dal, tuvar dal or arhar dal)
  • 1 pinch turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ¾ to 1 cup water – for pressure cooking lentils

To be ground coarsely

  • cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped
  • ½ inch ginger – roughly chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves – small to medium-sized, roughly chopped

Tempering and making lemon rasam

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (gingelly oil) or any neutral tasting oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • 1 to 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • 1 to 1.5 cups water or add water as required
  • 2.5 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or add lemon juice as per taste
  • salt as required
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves – for garnish

Instructions
 

Cooking lentils

  • Rinse and then add the tur dal or pigeon pea lentils in a pressure cooker together with a pinch of turmeric powder.
  • Add ¾ to 1 cup water and pressure cook on medium heat for 8 to 9 whistles or till the dal has softened and cooked really well.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own, check the dal and mash with a spoon or wired whisk. Keep the cooked lentils aside.

Making lemon rasam

  • In a small grinder or chutney grinder, take the chopped coriander, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and roughly chopped green chilies, ginger, garlic cloves.
  • Without adding water grind to a coarse or semi-fine paste. Keep aside.
  • In a pan or pot, heat sesame oil or any oil and add mustard seeds on low to medium-low heat. Fry till the mustard seeds start crackling.
  • Then add curry leaves and red chilies. Fry till the red chilies change their color and darken a bit. Don't burn them.
  • Now add the ground coarse herbs and spices paste along with a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and turmeric powder. Stir and mix very well on low heat.
  • Add the cooked lentils and add 1 to 1.5 cups water. Stir again to mix well.
  • Season with salt and again stir.
  • On a low to medium heat simmer the rasam for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Switch off the heat. Wait for 1 minute and then add 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. 
  • You can add more or less as required and as per your taste. Instead of lemon you can also add lime juice. Stir to combine.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve lemon rasam with steamed rice or drink it as a soup.

Notes

  • Instead of lemon juice, you can use lime juice but add as required depending on your taste preferences. 
  • Use fresh coriander and other herbs to get the best flavors. Make sure the lemons or limes are also fresh. 
  • It is best to savor this lemon rasam as soon as it is made. The flavors and taste change when the rasam is refrigerated. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Rasam
Amount Per Serving
Calories 133 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Sodium 550mg24%
Potassium 240mg7%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 346IU7%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 47mg235%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 93mg113%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 9µg9%
Calcium 57mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 552µg138%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 33mg8%
Phosphorus 94mg9%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Lemon Rasam recipe post from the archives first published in July 2015 has been republished and updated on 25 June 2022. 

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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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47 Comments

  1. Thank you so much : I cooked it today and I’m sure I’m going to adopt it as one of my favourite rasam ! Gorgeous ! ☺️

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