Kollu Rasam| Horsegram Rasam

Ever tried rasam made using horsegram? You must, if you haven’t already. Kollu Rasam or Horsegram Rasam, a heritage recipe from Tamilnadu, is not just very delicious but highly nutritious as well.

A bit about the humble horsegram

Horsegram – also called Kollu (Tamil), Kulthi (Hindi) and Hurali (Kannada) – is a legume, popularly used as food for horses and other livestock. However, considering just how nutritious these little things are, it wouldn’t be wrong to call them a ‘superfood’ for us humans too. Don’t let the size of the horsegram fool you – the beans might be small in size, but they are loaded with health benefits!

Several dishes are made using horsegram, across India. Poonam’s Horsegram Idlis, Kalyani’s Horsegram Chutney, Seema’s Horsegram Curry, Vidya’s Horsegram Podi and Sandhya’s Horsegram Sabzi are some examples. I prepare quite a few things using the legume too, one of them being this Horsegram Masala Usili!

Kollu Rasam or Horsegram Rasam

Horsegram is typically soaked overnight, then cooked with a lot of fresh water. The cooked horsegram then goes into various dishes, while the water it was cooked in goes into the making of Kollu Rasam.

The water in which horsegram is cooked is believed to be very nutritious too, and it would be a huge mistake to let it go down the drain. Using this water to make rasam is an absolutely brilliant move, I think. An ingenious use of kitchen ‘waste’ by our ancestors, I would say! In our family, a little of the cooked horsegram is ground and added to the rasam, to make it thick. Hence, there’s no need to add cooked toor dal in this rasam, unlike most other rasam versions.

Kollu Rasam or Horsegram Rasam tastes absolutely fab. Serve it with hot steamed rice and a poriyal of your choice, and there – you have an absolutely blissful meal!

#BestFromWaste recipe for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sure you guys are already aware of the fact that I’m part of this food blogger group called Foodie Monday Blog Hop. Every Monday, the members of the group showcase recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

This Monday, Archana of The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen suggested the theme for the group – #BestFromWaste. Don’t miss checking out her blog, btw – she has several traditional Goan foods and healthy dishes lined up!

So, Archana suggested we put up recipes showing how to make the best use of food ‘waste’, scraps generated in the kitchen which are very nutritious, but often end up going into the trash because of lack of awareness or a variety of other factors. Now, this is the need of the hour, and a topic very close to my heart. I try to run a zero-waste kitchen at home, reusing and recycling whatever I can – using vegetable peels to make chutney, converting leftovers into attractive food, using the water reserved from cooking lentils or vegetables in gravies, and such like. This family recipe for Kollu Rasam fit right into the theme.

How to make Kollu Rasam

Here’s the recipe for Kollu Rasam or Horsegram Rasam, from our family kitty.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable for those following a plant-based diet. Just skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, and this becomes a gluten-free dish as well. This is because most commercial brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a greater or lesser extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. About 2 cups of water left over from cooking horsegram

2. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind

3. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped

4. 2 tablespoons cooked horsegram

5. 5-6 cloves of garlic

6. 1/2 tablespoon oil

7. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

8. 2 pinches of asafoetida

9. 2 dry red chillies

10. A sprig of fresh curry leaves

11. Salt to taste

12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

13. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

14. 3/4 tablespoon rasam powder or to taste

15. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)

16. 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water

17. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


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

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for 15-20 minutes, or till it softens. When it gets cool enough to handle, extract all the juice from it, adding a little more water if needed. Keep the tamarind extract ready.

2. Peel the garlic cloves. Transfer to a small mixer jar. Add the cooked horsegram to the mixer jar, too.

3. Use a little water to grind the horsegram and garlic cloves together to a paste. Keep aside.

4. Keep the reserved water from cooking the horsegram ready.

Top left to right: Steps 5, 6 and 7. Centre: Step 8. Bottom left to right: Steps 9, 10 and 11.

5. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Let the ingredients stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Add in the chopped tomatoes, along with a little salt.

7. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

8. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan, along with salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes, or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

9. Add in the horsegram paste.

10. Add in the reserved water from cooking the horsegram, rasam powder, red chilli powder (if using) and jaggery powder. Mix well. Also add in 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water, depending upon the consistency of the rasam that you require.

11. Let the rasam come to a boil, then reduce flame to low-medium. Let the rasam simmer for 3-4 minutes, then switch off gas. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander. Your Kollu Rasam is now ready to serve, along with hot steamed rice.

Tips & Tricks

1. I use home-made rasam powder. Head here for the recipe.

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

3. You may skip the jaggery if you don’t prefer it. We like using a little bit, as it adds a whole lot of flavour to the rasam.

4. I have done the tempering at the very beginning. You can do it at the end too, after the rasam is ready.

5. The rasam powder I use is only moderately spicy, so I have added a dash of red chilli powder to the rasam. If the podi you are using is spicy enough, you can skip the red chilli powder.

6. Ghee can be used to do the tempering, instead of oil. Here, I have used sesame oil. Avoid ghee and use oil for the tempering if you are following a vegan diet.

7. Here’s a detailed guide on how to soak and cook horsegram and reserve the water used in cooking it.

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


18 thoughts on “Kollu Rasam| Horsegram Rasam

  1. Healthy and delicious recipe. Rasam is something we love especially after a drenching during the rains. Rasam and sambhar are two dishes that have many varients.


  2. Horsegram is absolutely healthy and I look for different ways to include it in our daily diet. Your kollu rasam sounds both nutritious and flavorful.


  3. kollu rasam takes me right back to Patiโ€™s kitchen and her samayal. she was a pro at making this, and ur wonderful recipe makes me soo nostalgicโ€ฆ great presentation too, Priya !


  4. Healthy and comforting bowl in this cold weather here. With Kollu or horsegram it becomes super nutritious too.


  5. Use of left over water after cooking horse gram is lovely idea. yes, most time we thorw those waters, but that can be used in a variety of amazing way !


  6. kollu rasam is absolute favorite in our home and I always make when my kids have cold and cough. This looks so delicious and always a comfort food


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