Pepper, Cumin And Garlic Rasam With Potato Roast

When its cold outside or when our body and mind needs rejuvenation, this is our go-to lunch menu. A mere sniff at the hot rasam melts our cold away. Rasam, a watered down version of sambar, is synonymous to soup. Its much lighter, easier to prepare and easier to digest.

A typical Tamil meal consists of sambar, rasam, yogurt (homemade and plain), vegetables and rice. Sambar, rasam and curd, served in that order, are to be mixed with rice and eaten with vegetables. Rasam acts as a palate cleanser after the rich lentil and spice laden sambar, and before the cool curd rice. There are many versions of this rasam, also known as ‘mulligatawny soup’ or ‘milagu thanni soup’ (pepper water in Tamil). This is my mom’s version.

Garlic is optional, though not in my household. You can remove the garlic before serving, if you find it too strong. Curry leaves may be hard to find if you are not in India. But if you can, be sure to include it. Its flavour is unmatchable. Seasoning this rasam with ghee adds another layer of flavour. When I am down with a nasty cold, a tsp of indulgent ghee soothes my throat and soul. You can use oil, if you feel guilty.

Pepper Cumin Rasam - Milagu Jeeraga Rasam


Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 5 cloves, crushed
Pepper – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Toor dal – 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds – ¾ tsp
Dried red chilli – ½
Curry leaves – few
Asafoetida – a pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil or Ghee – 1 tsp


Mix salt and tamarind paste in a cup of water and begin to boil along with smashed garlic cloves. Grind pepper, cumin seeds, toor dal, coriander seeds, red chilli and curry leaves to a diluted paste. Add this to the boiling tamarind water and boil until tamarind and other spices don’t smell raw. You will be left with a thick paste of tamarind and spices. To this add 3 cups of water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let rasam heat through gently, but do not let it boil. When rasam foams on top, remove from heat and mix asafoetida. In a separate pan, heat oil or ghee, splutter mustard seeds and roast some more curry leaves and add to rasam. Serve hot as soup or with rice.

Pepper, Cumin And Garlic Rasam

This garlicky rasam is my entry to Sunita’s Think Spice – Garlic.

Potato Roast - Urulai Vathakkal

For most of us, potato is synonymous to comfort; be it fried, mashed or sautéed. This simple roast is quite often paired with pepper rasam in our house. Once you try this combination you will know why.

Sambar powder is a readily available spice mixture. It is my preferred choice of seasoning for any quick pan-fried vegetable. If you don’t have sambar powder, a combination of coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric will do the job in most of the recipes.


Potato – 3, cubed
Sambar powder or a combination of coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric – 1½ tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp


Heat a tbsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds, and roast chana dal and urad dal until light brown. Add cubed potatoes, sambar powder (or combination of spice powders), salt and mix well. Cover and roast on a medium flame, by sprinkling water when necessary. When the potato cubes are cooked through, add another tbsp of oil and roast on a low flame. When they turn crispy, remove from heat. Serve with rasam and rice. This also goes well with rotis, puris, sambar and yogurt rice.

Potato Roast

Meeta, this is my idea of comfort food and I am bringing this to your Monthly Mingle.


KonkaniBlogger said...

Both indeed are comfort food for me too, together or each by itself..I love to just drink that rasam from a cup..

Lakshmi said...

Yummy rasam and that potato palya(as we call in kannada) looks awesome..

Anonymous said...

ultimate comfort food Suganya! the urlakizhangu varuval looks delicious :-)

amna said...

i had posted the exact same combination some time back :) nice entries!

Shilpa said...

Thats a heavenly combo Suganya, just suitable for the kind of weather we are having.

Miri said...

Keep the garlic, keep the garlic! :) As you can see I am a garlic fan - and in rasam it takes the flavour to the next level!
Lovely combination and definitely comfort food at its best!

Lucy said...

Your rasam looks incredible. Keep the garlic, I say. I can't get enough of the stuff (especially in the freezing cold)!

Potatoes - my comfort food, too. I was wondering what to cook with the potatoes I just brought home with me, and now I have a plan. Lovely images, as always, Suganya.

evolvingtastes said...

I use pinches of sambar powder here and there in some dishes besides sambar, but I didn't know that it is traditionally used in dry dishes too. I thought it was my own crazy indulgence, and would've been ashamed of telling that to a Tamilian. :-) Not any more.

Srivalli said...

Suganya...both the pictures are looking really take such wonderful pictures that they look ready to take from screen...very nice...thanks for the visual treat my friend!

Suganya said...

Maya, I always make a double portion of the rasam. Some with rice and some as it is :).

ToM, Thank you.

Latha, your new domain looks fab. Have fun in your new web space :).

Nags, I do remember that post. Same recipes, different ingredients :)

Shilpa, Do try. You will be pleased.

Miri, I hear ya, gal ;). Garlic will always there.

Freeing cold Lucy? I thought it was summer there. But this is a keeper, summer or winter.

ET, I have always taken Sambar powder for granted. Until I noticed that not many of 'em know its versatility. What to say, I am a woman on a mission. Will try to post recipes (other than sambar, of course) with sambar powder.

Srivalli, Thank you for your continual support.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Sug, sweetie with this kind of food my doors are wide open for you. Sounds gorgeous! I look forward to sharing this with you. Thanks!

Rachel said...

Ahh nothing like rice and hot rasam especially the spicy ones that tickle my eardrums :P

Lovely presentation

Shammi said...

Not just your kind of comfort food, Suganya :)

Sia said...

winter or summer, i can have this any time of the year :)

Laurie Constantino said...

Suganya, I love visiting your blog because your food is so different from mine that I learn something every time. This sounds delicious.

Finla said...

Delicious. Both look so good. I love rasam. I can just drink it like that

Sagari said...

potato fry and rasam with hot rice
delecious sughanya both look wonderfullll

Anonymous said...

I love garlic in rasam. Though I don't get to make rasam that often at home, love to make it with garlic whenever possible.

Rajesh &Shankari said...

sent un email.

sunita said...

suganya, will you beleive it...I have never tasted rasam before..but I will definitely have to give it a try with so many wonderful recipes around like yours :-)

Manasi said...

Rasam !! I love the way it travels down the throat and warms me up!!!! Potato Roast, simplicity and taste!! what more can one ask for!!!!!

Suganya said...

Meeta, I am happy to share this with you :)

Rachel, 'tickle your eardrums' - you mean wicked hot rasams? Thats right up my alley. I have mellowed down the recipe to suit most of our palettes ;)

Shyam, I know you will be able to appreciate this.

True Sia. And its so easy. I will try posting more rasam recipes.

Laurie, Its from your blog I learn a lot. Mediterranean cooking is so much fun :)

HC, Thats exactly what we do. Drink it straight up.

Thank you Sagari.

Hima, There was a time when I didn't care much for rasams. Not anymore. I have tried at least 10 types of rasams so far.

Shankari, I have replied back. Thanks :).

Sunita :O. Don't tell me that. You should try it once to know what I am talking about.

Namratha said...

Oh wow, what a combo Suganya, love the rasam. I make something similar too but with more tuar dal in it, will surely try yours. Potato looks perfect too.

Bharathy said...

The milagu rasam you have given here is the one I make 365 days a year :)...yes my hubby wants it everyday!
and the potato kara least twice a week for my kiddos with curd rice :)
This is our comfort combo too!!:)

Ashwini said...

Isnt it interesting that no matter how diverse India is, when asked about comfort food it's dal and rice for everyone :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, what nice variations on standard potato dishes! I don't usually go too heavy or adventurously with spices when dealing with potatoes, but come to think of it, it sounds pretty darned delicious.

Pooja V said...

Its comfort food for me too. Loved the potato bhaji. yummy !!

vimmi said...

i always used readymade rasam powder and it tasted awful. last week tried rasam with home made powder. wonderful. will try this recipe next and with the potatoes.

Mansi said...

My husband loves this one:) I must try it..looks farly easy:) but I've had mullgatawny soup in restaurants and it looks different..maybe the spices are diff in there...

Nice one Suganya:)

Laavanya said...

That's my kind of comfort food too.

Anonymous said...

This is true comfort for me any time of the year. But I have never tried rasam with garlic in it.

Nice entries.....

Indian Food Rocks said...

I so want to make this rasam tonight. Does the toor dal need to be roasted before it is ground? And 1 tsp pepper is 1 tsp ground pepper or whole peppercorns? I can't wait!!

DEEPA said...

Perfect recipe for our winter weather ...Hot Hot rasam with potato roat ...awesome combhination .....

Cynthia said...

You know I am yet to try my hand at making rasam. Got to get down to it.

Suganya said...

Namratha, there are many varieties of rasam. This is one of 'em :)

Bharathy, Milagu rasam is addictive. I see why.

Ashwini, Rice and dal is what we are growing apart. Wherever we go we always take a piece of home with us :).

Hannah, Potato goes very well with Indian spices. You should try once to see yourself.

Thanks Pooja.

Vimmi, My mom makes rasam powder, so I have never bought store-bought ones. But I know how stale they may taste.

Mansi, Mulligatawny is any form of pepper soup. This is one of 'em.

Thanks Madhu.

Manisha, Toor dal needn't be roasted. And its whole peppercorns. Grind, boil and enjoy. Thats how simple this rasam is. You once wrote 3 cloves of garlic was too much. Are you ready for some garlic punch? ;)

You got it right, Deepa.

Cynthia, Something this good and easy should be tried at least once. Let me know :).

bee said...

will definitely try this rasam. looks perfect for winter.

Indian Food Rocks said...

I *love* garlic. ;-) Esp roasted, or as garlic chips or in tadkas.

And, *I* didn't complain - my husband did! The 3 cloves of garlic in the Garlicky broccoli with acorn squash was near raw - barely in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt.

Thanks for the clarification. Off to make it now!

Indian Food Rocks said...

Back to say that this was fabulous! I was glad Medha found it spicy cos that meant more for me! Bad bad me! I added a little bit of turmeric powder, too. Yum! I am going to be making this a lot. And I am breathing out garlic with every breath...

Thank you!

sunita said...

Suganya, thanks for sending this lovely dish over :-)

Rajitha said...

the potato roast is truly a comfort good..i love to eat it with curd rice ;)

Minti said...

Stunning pictures. You should put up the picture of the potatoes on Snackshots...

musical said...

I would love to have some of that rasam right now! Rasam is the perfect cure for cough/cold kinda' stuff! And yummy potato roast too!

Gattina Cheung said...

oh my gosh, what the breaking-taking photos! Your presentation really brings out the essence of the ingredients!

Susan said...

I never thought of ghee or oil to soothe a sore throat, but it actually makes more sense than something acidic like tea with lemon.

You can actually *see* the garlic's pale golden hue in the rasam photo. Looks so darned good, I would use a very big spoon.

Mandira said...

this is comfort food for me too suganya, can you pass a plate here too? :)

Johanna GGG said...

Wow - beautiful photos, lovely food but so different from what I am used to - I looked at your roast potato dish and know I need to try it sometime because it is so different from the plain roast potatoes I make but looks just as comforting!

FH said...

Beautiful dish Suganya, great for cold winter day. It snowed here last weekend,I could use a bowl of that now!:))
Great entries for both.Thanks for your e mail,I enabled the comment again today and hope I am strong enough now!:D

Kusum said...

Potato roast is one of my favorites :) I am much impressed with your food photography :)

Nina Timm said...

Wow, what a lovely site. I am not familiar with Indian food, but we are trying to cut out meat for a while and I think Indian flavours is the way to go.


Anonymous said...

Hi there! I was blog hopping and landed on your blog. I am blown away by your pictures and overall presentation! The dishes are drool-worthy and I enjoyed looking/reading your posts.

- saffron

KayKat said...

That rasam looks simply delicious. Definitely one of my comfort foods!

Suganya said...

Bee, The garlic works like magic for any cold. Do try.

Manisha, I am so glad that I introduced to a South Indian classic. And you liked it too. Make it a li'l less spicy next time. Medha gotta enjoy too. Thanks for getting back to me :).

Am happy to participate, Sunita.

Me too, Rajitha :).

Minti, Thank you for the reminder. I totally forgot :).

I hope you like it, Musical.

Gattina, Thank you for your kind words. Hoping to see more of you here.

Susan, Ghee is a home remedy for sore throat and stomach ache. It works for me every single time. It lost its charm in the glare of the calorie counting.

Sure Mandira. Anytime :).

Johanna, Thank you for being kind. I cannot gulp down plain roasted potatoes. Gotta spice it up. Try Jamaican jerk seasoning over roasted potatoes. They are soooo good.

Asha, Glad to see you here. Lets see whether you keep up your resolutions ;)

Thanks Kusum and Nina. Welcome to Tasty Palettes.

Saffron, I am pleasantly surprised by your visit. I hope everything is fine at your end. Those compliments coming from you, means a lot to me. You are one of my inspirations. I hope you resume blogging soon.

Thanks KayKat.

Anonymous said...


i am regular reader of ur blog....and have never posted a comment bad for that...rasam looks yummy....


William Leigh said...


fab recipes and great photographs. I'm pining spicy food right now - some roti and sambar would do the trick.

I'll be popping back again, the recipes really do sound brilliant.

Anonymous said...

I made this rasam yesterday and the whole family loved it. My amma said it tasted like what her amma used to make. Thanks for an authentic recipe. Will be making it over and over, for sure.

KonkaniBlogger said...

Hey, I tried both the rasam and the potato, an excellent combo it is! Thanx for sharing the recipes.

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