Rasam powder is a spice blend used throughout India, especially in the southern states. As the name suggests, it is used to prepare rasam, a lentil soup flavoured with tamarind, tomatoes and rasam powder. Rasam can be served as a soup or mixed with rice. In a traditional south Indian meal, rasam with rice is served as the second course of a meal, between sambhar-rice and curd-rice.
Although readymade rasam powder is readily available in the market, most families have their own recipe for it and prefer to make it in bulk once every few months. The common ingredients in rasam powder are toor dal, red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorn, dry curry leaves and turmeric. The ingredients are either sun-dried for a few days or dry-roasted (individually) till aromatic, and then ground in a mixer-grinder or from a professional miller.
If the ingredients are sun-dried before grinding, the rasam powder is added at the beginning of the cooking process, to boil along with tamarind pulp and tomatoes before adding mashed lentils.
If the ingredients are dry-roasted to boost the aroma before grinding, then the rasam powder can be added at the end of the cooking process along with the lentils.
• Since the rasam powder is added only in small quantities, it does not have substantial health benefits.