Tom Kha| Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup

Have you had the pleasure of experiencing Tom Kha soup? You must try it out, if you haven’t already. It is such a beauty of a soup, inside and out!

What is Tom Kha?

Tom Kha refers to a Thai soup made using coconut milk. With hints of sweet and sour and spicy, it is bursting with flavours. It is a delicate soup, a harmonious balance between flavours the way most Thai dishes are. 

Tom‘ is the Thai word for ‘boil’, referring to the method of making the soup (as in Tom Yum). ‘Kha‘ in Thai means ‘galangal’, a rhizome similar to ginger, which finds pride of place in several dishes from the cuisine. Galangal is, indeed, the star ingredient in this soup too. Tom Kha is typically made using chicken pieces and broth (referred to as Tom Kha Gai, with ‘Gai‘ being the Thai word for chicken). I am presenting to you today the recipe for a vegetarian version of this soup, which is referred to as Tom Kha.

Traditionally in Thailand, Tom Kha is eaten as a side with rice, thereby making it a complete meal. Even on its own, too, this soup is hearty and hugely satisfying. I make it light, instead of rich and creamy as it usually is – we prefer it this way.

Tom Kha

My first tryst with Tom Kha

After a hot, sweaty and tiring morning exploring the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok last year, the husband and I were walking around with the bub, hunting for a place where we could partake of a vegetarian lunch. A small eatery right opposite to the temple caught our eye, offering quite a few traditional Thai vegetarian dishes. Something about the place called out to us, and we headed in. The owner was this very sweet, friendly, middle-aged Thai lady who lived and cooked in the tiny space behind the eatery. It was here that we had the most amazing Tom Kha soup, full of flavour. I couldn’t resist asking the lady how she made it and, in her broken English, she complied.

I have made this soup several times over since, tweaking little things here and there to suit my family’s taste preferences.

How to make Tom Kha or vegetarian Thai coconut soup

I outline below the way I make Tom Kha, and urge you to try it out too – I’m sure you will fall in love with it too.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those on a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

For the stock:
  • 1. 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2. 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3. 8-10 strands of lemongrass
  • 4. 2 green chillies
  • 5. 1 tablespoon fresh coriander stems
  • 6. A 1-inch piece of galangal
  • Other ingredients:

  • 1. 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2. 4 button mushrooms
  • 3. 1 small carrot
  • 4. Salt to taste
  • 5. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 6. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 7. 2 green chillies
  • 8. 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 9. A few strands of lemongrass
  • 10. A 1-inch piece of galangal
  • 11. 1/2 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 13. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

  • Method:

    1. We will first prepare the stock for the soup. Take 2-1/2 cups water in a pan. Tear the 2 kaffir lime leaves roughly and add them in. Roughly chop the lemongrass strands, galangal and coriander stems, and add them in too. Slit 2 slit green chillies length-wise, and add to the water. Place the pan on high heat, and allow the water to start bubbling. Then turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium  flame for 5 minutes.

    2. Now, strain all the ingredients out. Reserve the clear, greenish stock.

    Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

    3. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Chop up the button mushrooms length-wise. Keep aside.

    4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same pan, and add the chopped carrot and mushrooms. Saute till they are soft, but still retain a crunch.

    Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left and right: Steps 7 and 8

    5. Now, add the stock to the pan, along with salt to taste and jaggery powder. 

    6. Tear 2 kaffir lime leaves roughly and chop a few strands of lemongrass. Add to the pan. Roughly chop the galangal, and add to the pan too. Slit 2 slit green chillies  length-wise, and add to the pan. Mix well.

    7. Add the coconut milk and soya sauce to the pan. Mix well. Let it all cook together on medium flame. Switch off gas when it comes to a boil. Then, mix in juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste.

    8. Serve hot, garnished with the finely chopped fresh coriander.

    Tips & Tricks

    1. Use fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass for best results.

    2. I could find only strands of lemongrass, and that’s what I have used here. If you have access to lemongrass bulbs, do use them in the soup – they are super aromatic.

    3. Authentic Tom Kha Gai uses galangal or Thai ginger. You can substitute it with regular Indian ginger, but it alters the flavour of the soup quite a bit. You could choose to leave out the galangal or Indian ginger completely too, and the soup still tastes brilliant.

    4. Traditionally, oyster sauce or fish sauce is used in Tom Kha Gai. However, since this is a vegetarian version, I have used soya sauce.

    5. I have used naturally fermented soya sauce from Shoyu, a brand I picked up in Thailand. You can use any brand you prefer.

    6. If you can get your hands on Thai coconut palm jaggery and bird’s eye chillies, please do use them in the soup. I didn’t have these ingredients, so I have used regular Indian jaggery powder and green chillies.

    7. Adjust the quantity of chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

    8. I have used button mushrooms to make the Tom Kha Gai. Other varieties of mushrooms can be used as well. I prefer only mushrooms and carrots in this soup, but you could add in any other vegetables you prefer.

    9. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.

    10. I have used a pack of Dabur Hommade Coconut Milk here. You can use homemade coconut milk if you so prefer.

    11. The above quantities yield a light and flavourful soup – I prefer it this way. If you want a thicker soup, you can skip the water fully and use more coconut milk.

    12. I have used cold-pressed sunflower oil here. You can use any odourless oil you prefer instead.

    Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


    Moth Pesarettu| Spiced Pancakes Using Dried Moth Beans

    Do you like moth beans? I absolutely adore them! The recipe I’m going to be sharing with you all today – Moth Pesarettu – is made using these very flavourful beans.

    What are moth beans?

    Moth beans are legumes that look very similar to whole green (sabut) moong. These beans are brown in colour, though, as opposed to the green of moong beans. They are also slightly smaller in size than moong beans.

    Moth beans are also referred to as Turkish Gram or Dew Beans. Because of their similarity in looks to moong beans (‘Payaru‘ in Tamil), Tamilians also refer to moth beans as ‘Siru Payaru‘ (literallysmall moong beans’). The Gujarati name of these beans is ‘math‘, and it is used to make my eternal favourites mathiyas and math ni poori. Moth beans are also called ‘Matki‘, and are the main ingredient in usal and misal prepared in Maharashtra.

    These beans are full of nutrition, and full of flavour too. They work well in gravy-based sabzi, sundal, stir-fries and the likes – basically, you can use moth beans in all those dishes you would use moong beans in. That is just what I have done here – substituted dried moth in pesarettu for the whole dried green moong that is traditionally used.

    What is Pesarettu?

    Pesarettu is a kind of spiced pancake that is very popular in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Typically made using dried moong beans, it is a healthy and wholesome dish, not to forget utterly delicious. It isn’t crispy like dosa or adai, but beautiful nonetheless.

    It contains no rice or gluten, just whole grains. There’s no fermentation involved in pesarettu, and you can get around to making them as soon as your batter is ground and ready. Just soak the moong (or moth, in my case) overnight, use it to grind batter in the morning, and a nutritious breakfast can be prepared within minutes!

    About the Moth Pesarettu

    I made these Moth Pesarettu for breakfast some time back, and they were a huge hit with everyone at home. They were soft in texture and quite delicious, making for a hearty meal with the coriander chutney I served them with.

    I made the Moth Pesarettu exactly the same way I make pesarettu with moong beans. Like I was saying earlier, it is a really, really simple proceedure.

    The Moth Pesarettu is gluten-free and rice-free as well. They are completely vegetarian and vegan, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. These pesarettu are also suitable for those on a Mediterranean diet.

    What is the Mediterranean diet?

    This is a diet is based on the traditional cuisine of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Egypt, Spain and Italy. It isn’t just some fancy fad diet, but a really healthy and sustainable way of eating, endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

    The Mediterranean diet is largely plant-based, recommending the use of whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs, majorly. Moderate consumption of poultry and eggs, and the occasional use of red meat is allowed. The use of healthy, unsaturated fats and unprocessed, unrefined ingredients is recommended. Moderate consumption of dairy products is also suggested, as long as they aren’t highly processed. Head here for more details on the Mediterranean diet.

    Moth Pesarettu Recipe for Foodie Monday Blog Hop

    The theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week is #MystiqueMediterranean, wherein all of us are presenting recipes from the exotic Mediterranean cuisine or those that fit into the above-mentioned diet.  I chose to make this the healthy, whole grain-based Moth Pesarettu for the theme.

    Archana of The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen was the one who suggested this very interesting theme. Let me tell you – her blog, with its healthy recipes and traditional Goan food is totally worth checking out!

    Here’s how I made the Moth Pesarettu.

    Ingredients (makes about 10):

    1. 1 cup moth beans, dried
    2. 2 green chillies or to taste
    3. Salt to taste
    4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
    5. A handful of fresh curry leaves
    6. A 1-inch piece of ginger
    7. Unrefined oil, as needed to cook the pesarettu



    1. Soak the moth beans in just enough water to cover them, for 5-6 hours or overnight.
    2. When the beans are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Transfer the drained moth beans to a mixer jar.
    3. Chop the chillies roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Add the chopped chillies, ginger and garlic cloves to the mixer jar. Add in the curry leaves too.
    4. Grind all the ingredients in the mixer jar together, to a smooth batter.
    5. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel, add salt to taste, and mix well.
    6. Heat a dosa pan on high flame. When the pan gets nice and hot, turn the flame down to medium. Pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the pan, and spread it around into a circle using the back of the ladle. Drizzle a little oil all around it. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes on medium flame, or till it starts browning on the bottom. Now, flip over and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side as well.
    7. Transfer to a serving plate. Your Moth Pesarettu is ready to serve piping hot, with chutney of your choice.

    Tips & Tricks

    1. Use soft water to soak the moth beans, for best results.
    2. There’s no need to add in any water while grinding the batter. However, if you find the grinding difficult, you may add in some.
    3. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use in the batter, as per personal taste preferences.
    4. You may skip adding garlic to the batter, if you don’t prefer it.
    5. You may add some finely chopped onion over the pesarettu, while it is cooking, for added flavour.
    6. The curry leaves can be roughly torn and added to the batter, instead of grinding them. I prefer grinding them along with the batter, so everyone consumes the goodness of them and so they don’t get discarded on the side of the plate.
    7. The batter, once ground, can be used immediately to make Moth Pesarettu. It doesn’t require fermentation.
    8. Any leftover batter can be stored, refrigerated, best used within 3-4 days.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

    Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup

    With the weather getting chillier day by day in Bangalore, soups are now making a regular appearance on our dining table. Here’s one of my favourites – tomato soup, flavoured with Italian herbs.

    Mom’s tomato soup vs. mine

    Mom makes tomato soup in a different way from mine – she pressure cooks tomatoes, then purees them, seasons it, and then cooks it with some water added in. I’m not a big fan, considering I do not like the overpowering smell of tomatoes it gives off. Yes, I’m weird that way. 🙂

    I make this Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup by first cooking onion, garlic and country tomatoes to a mush, then cooking it again with water and seasonings. There’s no overwhelming smell of tomatoes this way – only their beautiful flavour. The soup tastes absolutely delicious, with a gorgeous creamy texture, if I may say so myself. It’s just as tasty – if not more – as soup made from a packet. This homemade soup is a breeze to make as well.

    How I make Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup

    I use a bit of wheat flour to thicken the soup, a healthier alternative to cornflour. However, if you wish to prepare a gluten-free version, you could go ahead and use cornflour instead. It gives the soup a creamy, lovely texture, without actually using any cream in it.

    Most tomato soup recipes suggest the use of pepper powder to spice it up, but I use a bit of red paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder instead. I love the taste it imparts to the soup, not to forget a pretty red colour too.  A mix of shredded fresh basil and dried Italian herbs make the soup fragrant and all the more wonderful.

    Lastly, I have used jaggery powder to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes, rather than sugar.

    This is a completely vegetarian and plant-based preparation, suitable to those following a vegan diet.

    My recipe for Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup

    Let’s now check out the stepwise recipe for Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup, the way I make it.

    Ingredients (serves 3-4):

    1. 3 medium-sized tomatoes
    2. 1 small onion
    3. 5-6 cloves of garlic
    4. Salt to taste
    5. About 2 cups of water or as needed
    6. A dash of red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder, as needed
    7. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
    8. 1/2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
    9. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    10. Dried Italian herbs, as needed
    Fresh basil, as needed for garnishing


    1. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.

    2. Peel the onion. Chop lengthwise. Keep aside.

    3. Peel the garlic cloves and chop roughly. Keep aside.

    4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the chopped garlic and onions. Saute till the onions start getting translucent, 1-2 minutes.

    5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with about 1/8 cup water and a little salt. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 4-5 minutes. Switch off gas and allow the mixture to cool down fully.

    6. Once the mixture has cooled down completely, grind it to a paste in a small mixer jar. Pass it through a sieve, to filter out any big bits.

    7. Transfer the filtered paste to the same pan, and place on medium heat. Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water to adjust the consistency of the soup. Also add salt to taste, jaggery powder, red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder. Mix well.

    8. Make a slurry of the wheat flour with about 2 tablespoons water, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add this slurry to the pan. Mix well.

    9. Cook the soup for 3-4 minutes or until it thickens. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings and/or water as required.

    10. When the soup has thickened enough as per your preferences, switch off gas. Mix in the dried Italian herbs and some roughly shredded fresh basil. Serve immediately.


    1. Use country (Nati) tomatoes, rather than the ‘farm’ variety, for best results.

    2. You could dry roast the wheat flour before using it in the soup. I haven’t.

    3. White or black pepper powder can be used in place of the red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder.

    4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how thick or watery you would like the soup to be.

    5. Sugar can be used in place of jaggery powder. I prefer the latter, though.

    6. Use cornflour to thicken the soup, if you require a gluten-free version.

    7. I use dried Italian herbs by Keya. In the absence of these, you could use the sachets of dried oregano that come with pizza delivery. 🙂

    8. You could also skip the Italian seasoning altogether, and garnish the soup with just some fresh basil (shredded) or coriander (finely chopped). Deep-fried pieces of bread or croutons can be used to top the soup too.

    9. Use more cornflour or wheat flour, if you require very thick soup. The above measurements yield soup that is creamy and moderately thick.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

    Healthy Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps

    Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps – A delectable new way to eat sabut moong!

    You don’t need me to tell you about the several health benefits that green moong beans possess. I love that these beans are so versatile, and that they can be used in a variety of foods – from soup and salad to curries, dhokla and dosa. I’m here today to tell you about a healthy, yummylicious way to eat these very nutritious beans – in the form of Thai-style wraps!

    Whole green moong beans aka sabut moong

    The wholesome goodness of these Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps

    These Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps are made using whole wheat flour. Apart from whole green moong beans (aka sabut moong), the filling includes deliciousness like preservative- and additive-free tofu, peanuts, juicy ripe pineapple, and home-made red chilli sauce. There’s also quick-pickled carrots and onion in there. Needless to say, they are bursting with flavour! They are a huge favourite at my place, and I’m sure you will love these too.

    The red chilli sauce does contain some sugar and vinegar, but far less than store-bought versions. I use just a smidgen of it in each wrap, anyway. I would say these wraps are quite wholesome and relatively healthy, packed with protein.

    Healthy Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps


    Are these wraps vegan and gluten-free?

    This is a completely vegetarian preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based or vegan diet.

    Using gluten-free tortillas instead of the whole wheat wraps I have used here will make them suitable for a gluten-free diet as well.

    #MoongMagic at Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week!


    I’m sharing my recipe for Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps for Foodie Monday Blog Hop, where the theme this week is #MoongMagic. This Monday, all of us are showcasing recipes made using whole green moong beans, and I’m so looking forward to see the lovely dishes my fellow food bloggers have come up with!

    The theme was suggested by Swaty of Food Trails, a wonderful blogger with many traditional Indian dishes and healthy bakes in her repertoire. You should definitely be checking out her blog! I’m itching to try out her Bajra Methi Pooris, Papad Boondi Ki Sabzi, Aloo Matar Ki Tehri, and Matar Ka Nimona – they look so very delicious!


    How to make Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps?


    It’s not very tough to put these Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps together. Once you gather the ingredients for the filling, the wraps come together in a jiffy. You can even prepare the wraps and the filling in advance and keep them ready,  assembling them just before serving. That’s what I usually do.

    Now, let me take you through the step-by-step procedure for making these wraps.

    Ingredients (for about 10 wraps):

    For the wraps:

    1. 2 cups whole wheat flour
    2. Salt to taste
    3. 1/2 tablespoon oil + more as needed to make the wraps

    For the filling:

    Moong beans:

    1. 1/2 cup whole moong beans, dry, soaked for 6-8 hours
    2. 4-5 cloves garlic
    3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
    4. 1/2 tablespoon oil
    5. Salt to taste
    6. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    7. Red chilli powder to taste
    8. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder
    9. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

    Other ingredients:

    1. Red chilli sauce or Sriracha sauce as needed (optional)
    2. 1/2 cup pineapple, cores and thorns removed, chopped into small cubes
    3. 1 medium-sized onion
    4. 1 medium-sized carrot
    5. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
    6. Salt to taste
    7. 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
    8. 200 grams vegetable tofu
    9. 1 tablespoon oil
    10. 1/4 cup peanuts


    We will first get the dough for the wraps ready.

    1. Take the whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste.
    2. Adding water little by little, bind into a soft, pliable dough.
    3. When the dough comes together well and is almost ready, add in 1/2 tablespoon oil and knead well for a minute or so.
    4. Let the dough rest, covered, for at least 15-20 minutes.

    In the meantime, get the various ingredients ready for the filling. We will first prepare the moong beans.

    1. Drain out all the water from the soaked moong beans. Take them in a wide vessel, and add in about 1/4 cup fresh water.
    2. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles or till the moong beans are well-cooked, but not overly mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.
    3. Meanwhile, peel the ginger and garlic. Chop very finely.
    4. When the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, get the cooked moong beans out. Now, we will start cooking them.
    5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the ginger and garlic. Saute for about a minute – the garlic should get a little burnt, which gives the moong a wonderful flavour.
    6. Add the cooked moong beans, along with the water they were cooked in. Turn the flame down to medium.
    7. Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.
    8. Cook on medium flame till the water completely dries up, and all the ingredients are well mixed together. Allow to cool down.

    Meanwhile, we will prepare the other ingredients required for the filling.

    1. Get the Sriracha or red chilli sauce to room temperature before using. Keep it handy.
    2. Make sure the pineapple is chopped small, and that all the thorns and cores are removed.
    3. Peel the onion. Cut lengthwise. Add a little salt to it, along with the juice from 1/2 lemon (or to taste). Mix well. Allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes.
    4. Dry roast the peanuts till crisp, keeping the flame medium, ensuring that they don’t burn. Let the peanuts cool down fully, then pulse in a mixer to crush them coarsely. Do not make a fine powder. Keep ready.
    5. Peel and grate the carrot medium-thick. Add a little salt, the finely chopped coriander and juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste). Mix well. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
    6. Cut the tofu into cubes, as small or as big as you require. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the tofu cubes. Cook on medium flame till the tofu is slightly browned and a little crisp, taking care not to burn it. This should take 3-4 minutes. Switch off gas and allow the tofu to cool down fully.

    Now, we will prepare the wraps.

    1. Get a thick dosa pan nice and hot.
    2. Meanwhile, take a ball of the dough we prepared earlier. Place it on a flour-dusted surface. Roll it out into a disc, neither too thin nor too thick, like a paratha. Keep it big enough to accommodate all the filling.
    3. Transfer the paratha to the heated pan. Cook on medium flame till done on both sides, drizzling a little oil around it.
    4. Prepare parathas from all the dough in a similar fashion.

    Now, we will start assembling the wraps.

    1. Take one of the prepared parathas on a serving plate. Place some of the carrot  and onions in the centre. Place some of the moong beans over this, and some tofu on it. Add in some pineapple and coarsely crushed peanuts. Drizzle some Sriracha or red chilli sauce over it, as needed. Roll up the paratha. Serve immediately.
    2. Prepare wraps from all the parathas in a similar manner.

    Tips & Tricks

    1. I have used home-made red chilli sauce here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.
    2. I have used Vegetable Tofu from Murginn’s. You may use regular tofu instead, too.
    3. Make sure all the cooked ingredients come to room temperature, before beginning to prepare the wraps.
    4. Make sure you don’t crush the roasted peanuts to a powder. For best results, just coarsely crush them.
    5. Use pineapple that is ripe and juicy, for best results.
    6. You can prepare the whole wheat wraps and the ingredients for the filling in advance, and then assemble the wraps just before serving them.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

    Orange Rasam Recipe| How To Make Orange Rasam

    Oranges are in season now, and the markets of Bangalore are flooded with them! I recently picked up a few of the Kamala variety, also called ‘loose jacket’ oranges for the way their skin looks all loose and hanging. 🙂 They were gorgeous – slightly sour, just the right amount of sweet, bursting with fragrance and flavour. I used them to make Orange Rasam, and I can’t begin to explain just how delicious it turned out!

    Check that out!

    What is rasam?

    Rasam is comfort food for most Tamilians, and I am no exception. It spells out ‘home’ for me, and as much as I love my Paneer Butter Masala and pizza, it is rasam and curd rice that I look forward to when I’m in need of comforting.

    But what is rasam, actually? It refers to a thin broth, for lack of better words, typically made using cooked lentils and tamarind. Mildly spicy and sour, it makes for a lovely accompaniment to hot steamed rice – serve it with some poriyal, appalam (papad) and thogayal (chutney), and you have a blissful meal that will soothe one’s soul.

    Rasam can be made in various ways – there are, probably, well over 100 varieties! There are traditional versions like Long Pepper Rasam, Garlic Rasam , Rasam with freshly ground spices, and Tamil Brahmin wedding rasam. And then, there are the more modern, fusion versions such as this Orange Rasam,  Strawberry Rasam and Pineapple Rasam!

    About this delicious, delicious Orange Rasam

    The Orange Rasam is a beautiful thing, simple but very flavourful and hearty. The natural sweetness and sourness of the oranges lent a nice touch to the rasam. The I deliberately kept the ingredients minimal, sans even rasam powder, so as to let the refreshing fragrance and taste of the oranges preside. The rasam was much loved by everyone at home, and made for a refreshing change from the usual.

    I made the Orange Rasam on the same lines as the Lemon Rasam we make, with a few small variations. I kept it light, with only a little toor dal going in, so we could drink it like a soup and mix it with rice as well.

    Putting together the ingredients for Orange Rasam!

    This is a completely vegetarian preparation, suitable to those on a plant-based or vegan diet. However, if you prepare the tempering using ghee instead of oil, this no longer remains a vegan dish.

    This Orange Rasam recipe can be made gluten-free just by omitting the asafoetida used in the tempering. This is because most asafoetida brands have some amount of wheat flour included. However, if you do manage to find a completely gluten-free version of asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

    How to make Orange Rasam

    Please find below my Orange Rasam recipe.

    Ingredients (serves 5-6):
    • 1. 3 tablespoons toor dal
    • 2. Juice from 4 oranges, or about 1 cup
    • 3. A small piece of tamarind
    • 4. 1-inch piece of ginger
    • 5. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
    • 6. 2-3 green chillies
    • 7. 4-5 cloves garlic
    • 8. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
    • 9. Salt to taste
    • 10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 11. A dash of red chilli powder (optional)
    • 12. 1/2 tablespoon oil
    • 13. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 14. 3-4 dry red chillies
    • 15. 2 pinches of asafoetida
    • 16. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander

    1. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain out all the water, then transfer to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles on high flame or till the dal is well cooked and soft. Let the pressure release naturally.

    2. In the meanwhile, extract the juice from the oranges. Filter out the seeds, pulp and any pith. Keep the filtered orange juice ready.

    3. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for 10-15 minutes, for it to become soft. When it is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it, adding a little more water if necessary. Keep aside.

    4. Chop the tomatoes finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Keep ready.

    5. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them roughly, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

    6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it well using a buttermilk churner. Keep aside.

    7. Now, take the finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies and curry leaves in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place over high flame, and add a little water. Let it cook for a minute.

    8. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with a little salt. Add a bit of water too, if the pan has dried out. Cook on high flame for 2-3 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

    9. Add the tamarind paste, along with 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, red chilli powder (if using) and turmeric powder. Let it cook on high flame for 2 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

    10. Add in the cooked and mashed toor dal. Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups water to adjust the consistency of the rasam. Cook on high flame till the rasam starts bubbling, stirring intermittently. This should take 2-3 minutes.

    11. In the meantime, prepare the tempering for the rasam. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Add the dry red chillies, asafoetida, and smashed garlic. Saute for a few seconds, without burning the ingredients. Switch off the gas, and add this tempering to the rasam cooking in the other pan.

    12. Turn flame down to medium, and let everything simmer together for a minute. Then, switch off gas.

    13. Add the orange juice to the pan, along with the finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.

    14. Keep the Orange Rasam covered for at least 10 minutes, for it to absorb all the flavours from the tempering. Then it is ready to serve, along with hot steamed rice and a curry of your choice.

    Tips & Tricks

    1. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, depending upon how sweet or sour the orange juice is.

    2. Lemon juice can be used to sour the rasam, in place of the tamarind.

    3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the rasam you require.

    4. The red chilli powder is optional. If you feel the heat from the green chillies and ginger is enough, the red chilli powder can be skipped completely.

    5. Add the orange juice at the very end, after switching off the gas, otherwise there are chances of the rasam turning bitter.

    6. Remember to keep the Orange Rasam covered for some time, once it is ready. This is an important step, which helps the flavours of the garlic get infused well into the rasam.

    7. I squeezed 4 big oranges to get about 1 cup of juice, which was just perfect for the above measurements. Adjust the quantity of orange juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.

    8. Squeeze the orange juice fresh, just before preparing the rasam.

    9. For best results, use oranges that are a good mix of sweet and sour. I used the ‘loose jacket’ Kamala oranges that are in season now, and they were just amazing.

    10. Ghee can be used in the tempering instead of oil.

    11. You can skip the garlic completely, if you don’t prefer it.

    12. I wanted to keep the Orange Rasam light and simple, so I have used only 3 tablespoons of toor dal. You may use more toor dal, if you so prefer.

    13. Don’t reheat the Orange Rasam too much, once it is cooked and ready. Just gently heat it if it has gotten cold, but I wouldn’t suggest overdoing it.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!