Milagu Jeeram Rasam| Pepper & Cumin Rasam

Rasam equates to comfort food in our family any time of the year, but especially so in the cold days of winter. In winter, a plate of piping hot rasam served with piping hot rice, a bit of poriyal or appalam (papad) on the side spells out ultimate comfort. Have it on its own, like a soup, and it is just as soothing. I share with you today our family recipe for Milagu Jeeram Rasam – rasam made using pepper and cumin – which is an absolute delight.

Benefits of Milagu Jeeeram Rasam

~ This rasam is made using pepper, an excellent warming ingredient. The rasam helps warm up the system in cold winters. Our ancestors believed that regular intake of Milagu Jeeeram Rasam keeps cold, cough and flu at bay.

~ Milagu Jeeram Rasam soothes the throat when you already have a cold and cough.

~ This rasam is considered to be a great detoxifier. When you have had heavy meals for a few days or when your digestion has been disturbed, it is believed that the consumption of this rasam helps the stomach in settling the stomach down.

~ Milagu Jeeram Rasam has traditionally been considered as ‘Pathiya Samayal‘ or part of the home-cooked food that is given to new breast-feeding mothers. It is believed to aid post-partum recovery.

PS: I am neither a dietician nor a trained medical practitioner. The health benefits I share here are purely based on what I have learnt from the elders in our family, what I have read and experienced in Tam-Brahm society. Kindly consult a qualified doctor for specific queries.

Milagu Jeeram Rasam for #GrandmaRemedies

This recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. This Monday, Narmadha of Nams Corner suggested that we showcase healing recipes from our family kitty, for the theme #GrandmaRemedies. Our grandparents believed that food is the best medicine, and that most ailments can be cured with simple remedies dished out of the home kitchen. This  Milagu Jeeram Rasam is one such dish,  an effective remedy for several minor ailments. I chose this dish because I believe it fits the theme perfectly.

The beauty of this rasam is the freshly ground black pepper and cumin added to it, which gives it a unique flavour. The ghee used in the tempering is comforting and soothing. On the whole, it is utterly delicious! 

Milagu Jeeram Rasam recipe

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to those on a plant-based diet. It is a no-onion, no-garlic, Sattvik preparation too, though you can add in garlic if you like.

Most commercial brands of asafoetida include some amount of wheat flour. Hence, it is advisable to skip the asafoetida in the tempering if you require a gluten-free version of the rasam. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Here’s how we make the Pepper & Cumin Rasam.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1. 2 tablespoons toor dal
2. A small gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
3. 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
4. 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
5. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
6. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
8. Salt to taste
9. About 1-1/2 cups water or as needed
10. 1/2 tablespoon ghee
11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
12. 2 dry red chillies
13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


Top and bottom left: Steps 1 and 3, Top, centre and bottom right: Steps 5, 6 and 7

1. Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan. Dry roast the black peppercorns and cumin seeds on medium flame for a minute or so. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool down fully, then crush them coarsely using a mixer or mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

2. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for 10-15 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, add water little by little and extract all the juice from it. You will get roughly 1 cup of tamarind extract. Keep aside.

3. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Take it in a wide vessel and add in enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker, and put the whistle on. Pressure cook on high flame for 6-7 whistles or till the dal is fully cooked. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

4. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.

5. Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan and add the chopped tomatoes to it. Add a little water and salt, as well as the curry leaves. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 2-3 minutes.  Stir intermittently.

6. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Add salt to taste and turmeric powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes on high flame or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

7. Add the cooked toor dal to the pan, along with about 1-1/2 cups water. Mix well.

Top and bottom left: Steps 7 and 8, Right top, centre and bottom: Steps 10, 11 and 12


8. Add in the coarsely crushed peppercorns and cumin. Mix well.

9. Cook on high flame till the mixture comes to a boil. This should take 2-3 minutes.

10. Now, lower the flame to low-medium. Allow the mixture to simmer for just about a minute, then switch off gas.

11. Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and allow to sputter. Add dry red chillies and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Add this tempering to the rasam.

12. Add fresh finely chopped coriander to the rasam. Mix well. Cover the rasam and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, undisturbed, before serving. Serve it hot with steamed rice and poriyal of your choice.


Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantities of pepper, cumin, toor dal and tamarind as per personal taste preferences.

2. A few cloves of garlic, pounded roughly in a mortar and pestle, can be added to the tempering too.

3. Oil can be used to prepare the tempering, instead of ghee.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the rasam you require.

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

Do check out some of the rasam varieties we make at home:

Kalyana Rasam| Nataraja Iyer Rasam| Orange Rasam| Arachuvitta Rasam| Garlic Rasam| Long Pepper Rasam| Lemon Rasam

14 thoughts on “Milagu Jeeram Rasam| Pepper & Cumin Rasam

  1. I had made something similar but without dal, I would love to try this as currently under the 🤒.
    Beautiful and tempting clicks


  2. As south Indians we make rasams almost every alternative days and pepper jeera rasam is one our favorite during cold too. Looks so flavorful and helps to relieve the sore throat issues too.


  3. I love the combo of pepper and cumin I feel it is a classic combo or is it a typical south Indian speaking?
    This pepper jeera rasam my mom made everytime one of us was not well. Tomorrow I am expecting some guest will make it for them.


  4. This is exactly what i need for my sore throat right now.I love this rasam that is bursting with flavors of jeera and pepper.This is a perfect remedy for all ailments at our place.


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