Poondu Rasam| Garlic Rasam

Rasam of different kinds often makes an appearance on our dining table. It is comfort food for the bub, the husband and me, and I find it it easy to whip up when I have nothing else planned for lunch or dinner. Garlic Rasam (‘Poondu Rasam‘ in Tamil) is something all of us love to bits, and I make quite regularly.

The health benefits of garlic have been talked about since decades. The root helps in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aids digestion, and helps combat common cold and flu. Garlic is also a rich source of Vitamin C and B6, as well as Manganese. It also contains a high amount of antioxidants, which aid in the warding off of ailments like Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. It also helps in improving one’s longevity. This notwithstanding, garlic smells and tastes absolutely fab, and I love adding it to all and sundry dishes!

I think Poondu Rasam is a brilliant way to use these filled-with-health-benefits garlic bulbs. The garlic infuses the humble rasam with a whole lot of flavour, taking the dish up to an entirely different level. I grind the spice mix for the Poondu Rasam fresh, as opposed to using ready-made rasam powder, which works its magic on the dish too. Give us piping hot garlic rasam, steamed rice and a dollop of ghee, and we are set – any day, any time! Honestly, this rasam turns out so lovely that it doesn’t even need an accompaniment!

Here is our family recipe for Poondu Rasam aka Garlic Rasam.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For the spice mix:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  3. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  4. 4-5 dry red chillies (lal mirch)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (sabut methi)
  6. 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  7. 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. 2 generous pinches asafoetida (hing)
  4. 6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and pounded with a mortar and pestle

Other ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup toor daal
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh curry leaves
  3. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  4. 2 big tomatoes, finely chopped
  5. Salt, to taste
  6. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Wash the toor daal a couple of times under running water. Drain out all the excess water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the toor daal, and place it in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. When all the pressure has come down, mash the cooked toor daal and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for 10 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, extract a thick juice out of the tamarind, adding very little water at a time. Keep aside.
  3. Now, we will make the spice mix needed for the garlic rasam. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the 6-7 cloves of garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, black peppercorns and fenugreek. Fry on medium flame till the ingredients begin to turn brown, taking care not to burn them. Transfer the fried ingredients to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  4. When the ingredients for the spice mix have entirely cooled down, grind them to a powder in a mixer, without adding any water. Keep aside.
  5. Now, we will proceed to make the garlic rasam. Heat a little water in a pan, and add in the finely chopped tomatoes and the curry leaves. Add in a little salt and turmeric powder. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes begin to turn mushy.
  6. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Mix well. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cooked toor daal to the pan, along with the spice mix we ground earlier. Add in about 1-1/2 cups water. Mix well. Let everything cook together till the rasam begins to boil. Turn down the flame at this stage. Check and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  8. Let the rasam simmer for just a minute, then switch off gas.
  9. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the garlic rasam. For this, heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add in the asafoetida and the crushed garlic, and let them stay in for a couple of minutes. Switch off the gas, and add this tempering to the rasam.
  10. Add the finely chopped coriander to the rasam. Cover the pan in which you prepared the rasam, and let it sit like that for at least 15 minutes. Serve the garlic rasam hot with steamed rice, ghee and curry of your choice.


  1. The last step of covering the prepared rasam with a lid and letting it sit for 15 minutes is crucial. Don’t miss it. This helps in infusing the flavour of the garlic beautifully into the rasam.
  2. I prefer using ghee to make the tempering for garlic rasam. You can use oil instead, if you so prefer.
  3. Increase or decrease the number of dry red chillies and black peppercorns, depending upon how spicy you want the rasam to be.
  4. Adjust the quantity of toor daal and water you add to the rasam, depending upon how thick/watery you would like it to be.
  5. Don’t cook the rasam too much after adding the spice mix. Just simmer for a minute or so and switch off the gas.

Did you like the recipe? Do try out this Garlic Rasam, and let me know your thoughts on it!


Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Rooting for Roots’, wherein members are cooking dishes using various root vegetables except potatoes.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.




28 thoughts on “Poondu Rasam| Garlic Rasam

  1. Garlic rasam is so comforting especially when the weather outside is cool . There is no match to the fresh pounded spice mix as well. Thanks for this lovely recipe Priya !


  2. My day is complete, poriyal, suda suda rasam, sutta applam, mmmm I am in heaven. I feel i can smell your rasam already.


  3. Rasams are always comforting for a South Indian and perhaps the only medicine that sails you through a running or blocked nose during winters. Garlic Rasam in winters especially provide that warmth to the body, also making it with fresh masala always is a huge bonus.


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