Alternative names Saaru, chaaru, chaatambde
Place of origin India
Region or state South India
Serving temperature Hot or cold
Main ingredients Lentils, tomatoes, water, tamarind pulp
Cookbook: Rasam  Media: Rasam

Rasam ( pronunciation ), chaaru, saaru or kabir is a South Indian soup,[1] traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, pepper, cumin and other spices as seasonings. Steamed lentils can be added along with any preferred vegetables.[2] Nowadays, all the seasonings required are combined and ground beforehand into rasam powder, which is available commercially. Chilled prepared versions are also marketed commercially.[3]

It is eaten with rice or separately as a spicy soup. In a traditional meal, it can be part of a course which includes sambar rice and curd rice. Rasam has a distinct taste in comparison to the sambar due to its own seasoning ingredients and is usually fluid in consistency.


Rasam means "juice". It can refer to any juice, but in South Indian households rasam commonly refers to soup prepared with tamarind or tomato juice with added spices and garnish. Saaru in Kannada or chaaru in Telugu means "essence" and, by extension, "juice" or "soup".


Rasam is prepared mainly with tamarind or tomato as the base along with cumin, black pepper and dry chilli powder as flavoring ingredients. All of these ingredients are abundant in South India.

Mulligatawny (from Tamil மிளகுத்தண்ணி (miḷagu-ttaṇṇi), meaning 'pepper-water') is based on rasam. Mulligatawny is often served with rice, like rasam.


Different kinds of rasam are listed below with its main ingredients in the Tamil language:

  • Koli saaru – chicken
  • Kadalai saaru – black chickpeas
  • Venkaaya saaru – onion
  • Kattu saaru – lentils and Byadgi chillies
  • Tili saaru – sieving water from plain rice
  • Thakkaali rasam – tomato puree
  • Poondu rasam – garlic
  • Inji rasam – ginger
  • Mudakathaan rasam – balloon vine
  • Maangaa rasam – raw or semi-ripe mango
  • Elumichai rasam – lemon juice
  • Nellikkai rasam – Indian gooseberry
  • Murungai poo rasam – drumstick flower
  • Vepam poo rasam – neem flower
  • Kandathippili rasam – greens
  • Bassaaru/kattu saaru – boiled vegetables/greens/lentils
  • Milagu rasam (mulligatawny) – black pepper
  • Jeeraga rasam – cumin
  • Pineapple rasam
  • Beetroot rasam
  • Puli rasam – tamarind extract
  • Hesaru kaalu saaru – green gram
  • Parupu rasam / pappu saaru – pulses and tomato stock
  • Baellae saaru – pigeon pea lentil
  • Kattina saaru – jaggery
  • Kollu rasam, hurali saaru, kudu saaru, or ulava saaru – horse gram
  • Mysore rasam – fried lentils[4]

See also


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