Rasam powder is an aromatic spice blend that is used to make Rasam – a tangy spiced soup like drink from the South Indian cuisine. My rasam powder recipe gives you a robust rasam podi that will bring a lot of flavors and taste to your rasam.
About Rasam Powder
If you are confused between rasam powder and rasam, then let me clear your confusion. Rasam is a sour soup or broth like drink made with tamarind, spices, lentils and herbs. Rasam powder is a ground spice mix that is added into the rasam.
Adding a robust rasam powder brings in more depths of flavor and taste to the rasam. You can even call rasam powder as a dry condiment used when making rasam.
In the Tamil language, rasam powder is also called “rasam podi “where the word “podi” means a ground powder.
My rasam powder recipe is so good that any rasam you make with it will actually taste like an authentic South Indian rasam and not some plain tamarind broth or soup. You can add this rasam podi in any rasam recipe that you make.
What is rasam powder made from
There are many variations of making rasam powder. Every household has their own proportions. However a basic rasam powder is made with five ingredients comprising of four spices and one lentil:
- Coriander seeds (sabut dhania) – Coriander seeds is one of the major ingredient in rasam podi and gives warm, earthy, robust tones.
- Cumin seeds (jeera) – On roasting, cumin seeds gives warm and mildly bitter tones.
- Black peppercorns (kali mirch) – Gives pungency and sharpness to the spice mix.
- Dry red chilies (sukhi lal mirch) – Red chillies not only give color, but also lend some heat and spice to the ground blend.
- Tur dal (arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils) – Give a nutty and earthy flavor.
Apart from the above ingredients, you can also add chana dal (husked split bengal gram), fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida (hing).
Why make Homemade
Making homemade rasam powder is always better as you can increase or decrease the spice and pungency according to your preferences. Example: you can add less black pepper or red chilies.
For dry red chilies, I would suggest to add chillies which are low in heat like Kashmiri red chilies or byadagi red chilies.
Do not add red chilies which are high in heat and pungency as these will make the rasam podi very spicy and pungent. I have not added fenugreek seed, but you can add a bit if you want. Some curry leaves and asafoetida (hing) can also be added.
Making homemade spice mixes are so easy, clean and hygienic. There are no preservatives, food colorings or additives added.
Homemade spice blends or masalas are actually best as they are packed with a lot of aroma and flavor.
I make all spice blends in small to medium amounts at home. I have listed below some spice blends (which we call as masala powder in Hindi) that I have shared earlier on my blog.
Two methods of drying spices
Making rasam podi is very easy. There are two ways to make it. One method is sun drying spices and the second method is roasting or toasting the spices. I use the second method of roasting each ingredient one by one.
Roasted spices give a good aroma to this rasam spice mix. When any roasted spice blend or masala is added to any recipe, always remember not to cook it more as the flavors get diminished.
After adding the spice blend or spice powder to the main recipe just cook for some minutes and do not overcook.
How to make Rasam Podi in bulk
To make rasam powder in bulk, triple or quadruple this rasam podi recipe. Toast the spices separately. Spread them on a large tray or a clean cotton cloth. Let them cool at room temperature. Give the spices to your local grinding mill or flour mill.
The rasam powder will be hot or warm after bulk grinding the ingredients in your local mill. Let the ground rasam podi cool completely at room temperature.
Then store rasam podi in a large, clean and dry air-tight container. Take required portions for monthly usage in a small handy jar and keep the large container covered with an air-tight lid in a cool dry place.
What is the difference between rasam powder and sambar powder
Rasam powder is a ground spice and lentil mix used in making rasam which is a soupy spiced tangy broth like drink. Sambar powder is a ground spice blend used to make sambar which is a vegetable and lentil stew having a medium to thick consistency served with rice or idli or dosa.
On the looks of it, similar spices and lentils are used in making both the sambar masala powder and rasam podi, but their proportions vary. As a result both have a unique flavor and aroma.
Note for allergy and sensitivity: If you are sensitive or allergic to smells, then cover your mouth and nose, especially when you roast black pepper and red chilies. When roasting spices like black pepper and red chillies, their pungent and sharp aroma can be irritating to the throat and nose.
How to make Rasam Powder
Roasting Spices & Lentils
1. Keep all the spices and lentils ready before you begin. Take a heavy kadai or a pan and heat it. Keep the flame to a low. Add 1 heaped cup coriander seeds (70 grams).
2. On a low flame stirring continuously roast coriander seeds until they become aromatic.
3. Keep stirring often and roast coriander seeds until they become crisp and aromatic. Their color will also change.
4. Set aside the coriander seeds in a plate or tray.
5. Now add 2 tablespoons chana dal (30 grams husked and split bengal gram) in the kadai.
6. Stirring continuously roast chana dal until their color changes and they become golden.
7. Remove and set aside.
8. Next add 5 tablespoons tuvar dal (60 grams tur dal, arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils).
9. Stirring often roast tur dal until they become golden and aromatic. Remove and set aside.
10. Add 2 tablespoons black pepper (20 grams).
11. Stir non-stop and roast black pepper until you get their pungent aroma. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
12. Then add 2 tablespoons cumin seeds (15 grams).
13. Stirring often roast cumin seeds until their color changes and they become aromatic. Remove and keep aside.
14. Lastly add 15 to 16 byadagi red chilies (20 grams). I have broken the red chilies and removed the seeds. If you do this method, then you will need 1 cup broken dry red chilies.
TIP: It is a good practice to remove the seeds from red chillies before you cook with them.
15. As soon as you add dry red chilies, quickly stir and begin to roast them until their color darkens a bit. Do not burn them.
16. If the pan has become too hot, then switch off the flame and continue to roast in the hot pan. Roast until you see their color has changed and you feel their pungent sharp aroma.
17. Remove roasted red chilies and set aside. Let the spices and lentils cool completely at room temperature before you begin to grind them.
18. Now add the roasted spices, lentils in your well-trusted spice grinder or a mixer-grinder or a blender. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder .
19. Grind everything to a fine powder. You can grind in two batches and then mix both the batches in a bowl or plate.
20. Spoon the rasam powder in a glass jar. Seal with an air-tight lid. Store rasam podi at room temperature in a cool dry place. You can even store rasam podi in the fridge or freezer.
21. Use rasam powder to make any rasam recipe.
My rasam powder recipe fills a medium-sized jar of 200 grams. So if you make rasam once or twice a week, it will last you for about 3 months. If you make rasam pretty often, then it will last for about a month.
You can store the rasam podi in a clean, dry air-tight glass jar or a steel container in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
Add 1 tablespoon of rasam powder in any rasam recipe that has a serving of 4 to 5. For a more intense and stronger flavor, you can even add 1.5 tablespoons of this rasam podi.
- Quality of spices: When making any spice blend, use fresh and good quality spices. If you buy or get organic spices, then please do. The spices have to be crisp, clean with no signs of mould or fungal growth on them.
- Lentils: Use fresh lentils and not aged lentils. Make sure there are no insects or mould on the lentils.
- Storage containers: A glass jar is good to store ground spice blends. A steel container or a steel jar also works well.
- Scaling: You easily scale this recipe and make the rasam podi according to your requirements.
- Pungency: Kashmiri red chillies and byadagi chillies are less hot and pungent. So adding these chillies won’t make your rasam spice mix spicy or pungent. But if you prefer a spicy rasam powder, then add a mix of less spicy red chillies and pungent red chillies. In my recipe, I have used byadagi red chillies.
- Buying spices: In India, we can easily buy the spices and lentils locally. But if you stay outside India, then look for these ingredients in an Indian or Asian grocery store. You will also find these spices, dried red chillies and lentils, online or on amazon.
Rasam Powder | Rasam Podi
- 1 heaped cup coriander seeds or 70 grams
- 2 tablespoons chana dal or 30 grams split and husked bengal gram
- 5 tablespoons tuvar dal or 60 grams arhar dal (pigeon pea lentils)
- 2 tablespoons whole black pepper or 20 grams
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds or 15 grams
- 15 to 16 byadagi red chilies or 20 grams or 1 cup broken dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder – optional
Roasting spices and lentils
- Keep all the spices and lentils ready before you begin. Take a heavy kadai or a pan and heat it. Keep the flame to a low.
- Add coriander seeds.
- On a low flame stirring continuously roast coriander seeds until they become aromatic. Their color will also change.
- Remove the coriander seeds in a plate or tray.
- Now add chana dal in the same kadai or pan. Stirring continuously roast chana dal until their color changes and they become golden. Set aside.
- Add tuvar dal and stirring often roast the lentils until they become golden and aromatic. Set aside.
- Add black pepper and stirring non-stop roast these until you get their pungent aroma.
- Next add cumin seeds and stirring often roast them until their color changes and they become aromatic.
- Lastly add byadagi red chilies. I have broken the red chilies and removed the seeds. If you do this method, then you will need 1 cup broken dry red chilies.
- As soon as you add dry red chilies, quickly stir and begin to roast them until their color darkens.
- If the pan has become too hot, then switch off the flame and continue to roast in the hot pan. Roast until you see the color has changed and smell the pungent sharp aroma of red chilies.
- Remove roasted chilies and set aside. Let the spices and lentils cool completely at room temperature.
Grinding spices and lentils
- Then add the spices in a grinder jar or a spice grinder. Add turmeric powder .
- Grind to a fine powder. You can grind in two batches and then mix both the batches of ground rasam powder.
- Add the rasam powder in a glass jar. Seal with an airtight lid. Store at room temperature. You can even store rasam podi in the fridge or freezer.
- Use rasam powder to make any rasam recipe. For a rasam of 4 to 5 servings, you can add 1 tablespoon of this rasam podi.
How to use?My rasam powder weighs 200 grams. If you make rasam once or twice a week, it will last you for about 3 months. Add 1 tablespoon of rasam powder in any rasam recipe that has a serving of 4 to 5. For a more intense and stronger flavor, you can even add 1.5 tablespoons.
How to store?A glass jar is always great to store homemade spice blends. You can even use an air-tight steel container or a steel jar. The container or jar has to be clean and dry. You can store rasam podi in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Quality of spices & lentils: Use fresh, good quality, crisp, clean and preferably organic spices. Try to use fresh lentils and not aged lentils. There should be no insects or moulds in the lentils.
- Scaling: You can easily scale and make the rasam spice blend in small or large quantities according to your needs.
- Pungency: Adding Kashmiri red chillies and byadagi chillies won’t make your rasam powder spicy or pungent as these chillies are less hot. If you prefer a spicy rasam powder, then add a mix of pungent, spicy red chillies and less hot chillies. I have used byadagi red chillies.
- Buying spices: We can easily buy the spices and lentils in India. If you stay outside India, then you will get these ingredients in an Indian or Asian grocery store. You can also find them on amazon.
- Approximate nutrition info is for 1 tablespoon of rasam powder.