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
  • Method:

    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!
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