Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Ginger Rasam – No Need of Rasam Powder !!!


There are really only two ways people look at Ginger – They either love it or they hate it! In my opinion Ginger is pretty under rated. We use it in appetisers, main courses, salads, dressings, desserts, cookies and even bread! It supposedly helps with digestion, is an effective cure for coughs and colds, boosts immunity and helps combat cancer. In the long list of medicinal properties I love the fact that its been around for thousands of years. In fact I love it in my tea for the zing that it provides. I have been contemplating making my own ginger cough drops, but that`s a project for another day. Ginger Rasam needs no prep work and no Rasam Powder. It`s one of those things you can prep,cook and finish in under 30 minutes or less. Use it as a rasam or simply drink it as soup. Its hearty, warming and extremely good for you.

One word of caution – I see many varieties of ginger in the markets. The smaller thinner varieties are in my opinion more potent so slightly reduce the quantity thats recommended. I use the slightly fatter bigger variety thats available in the Indian stores in the US.


1 Ripe Tomato.

2 Cups Diluted Tamarind Water.

1/4 Cup Cooked Toor Dhal.

1 Inch Ginger Crushed roughly.

1 Tsp Crushed Pepper.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric.

1 Tbsp Jaggery or 2 Tsp Sugar.

Salt to taste.

Cilantro to garnish.


2 Tsp Ghee.

1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Green Chilli sliced long.

1 Tbsp Grated Ginger.

Handful of curry leaves.

Pinch of Hing.


  • Chop the tomatoes fine. Grate the ginger as needed. Crush the 1 inch piece in your mortar.
  • Dilute the 1/4 Cup cooked toor dhal with enough water and bring it to about 1 cup.
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel heat the ghee and slowly add the ingredients for tempering – Mustard Seeds, Cumin seeds, slit chilli, grated ginger, hing and the curry leaves .
  • When they splutter add the chopped tomatoes and allow to saute until soft.
  • In a few minutes add the diluted 2 cups of tamarind water and then the turmeric powder, salt, crushed ginger, and the crushed black pepper.
  • This broth has to boil and slightly reduce until all the raw smell is gone.
  • When done, add the  1 cup of diluted cooked toor dhal water and mix.
  • When it setttles down add about 1 tbsp jaggery or 1 1/2 tsp of sugar as needed.
  • Boil the rasam on medium flame so it slowly starts frothing and just begins to boil.
  • Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Keep the vessel tightly closed until its time to serve.
  • Delicious Ginger Rasam can be mixed with rice or simply drink it like soup!!


  1. Some peoople do not prefer to taste the grated ginger pieces. In such cases just mash up the ginger in to rough chunks.
  2. It`s a great option as a hot warming soup.
  3. Moderate the amount of jaggery/ sugar so as to give the rasam a hint of sweetness over the sharpness of the ginger and the pepper.



Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Nataraja Iyer Rasam

Food is the most primitive form of comfort”
It`s one of those cold days with the temperatures plunging below zero degrees the wind outside howls, swaying the branches and leaves from side to side. One of those days you want to curl up your feet and watch your favourite show on TV or read your favourite book. One of those days when you want to have piping hot rasam and aloo fry. And fried vadam…I learnt this rasam from a friend`s mom as I loved the aroma and the simple yet delicious taste.. Thanks a ton D!! Nataraja Iyer Rasam is your best best on those days and, no, you will not be disappointed. The kitchen fills with the aroma of this rasam as it bubbles and froths on the stove. Season, garnish serve. Repeat!
I Ripe Tart Tomato.
1 Ball of Tamarind in the size of a small lemon.
Handful Toor Dhal.
3 Cups Water.
5  Red chillies.
2 Green Chilles broken in half.
2 Tsp Cumin Seeds.
1 Tsp Whole Black Pepper.
1/4 Tsp Hing.
1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.
1 Tsp Grated Jaggery.
1 Tbsp Ghee.
1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds.
1/2 Tsp Jeera Seeds.
1/4 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds.
Curry Leaves.
  • Wash and clean the toor dhal and pressure cook it in 1 cup of water , adding turmeric powder and a drop of ghee.  Mash the cooked toor dhal and and set aside. Add one more cup o f water to dilute.
  • Extract the juice from the tamarind (approx 2 cups)  . Chop the tomatoes and add to the tamarind water.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chillies, hing, green chilles, jaggery and salt to the tamarind water and allow to boil.
  • When the tamarind water reduces to almost half, add the 2 cups of cooked and mashed toor dhal thats diluted.
  • Add coarsely crushed black pepper and the jeera and cook on medium low heat.
  • Switch off when the rasam starts to froth.
  • Season  with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, hing and curry leaves in ghee.
  • Garnish with a a few sprigs of fresh corriander leaves and cover the rasam with a plate.
  • Keep it closed until ready to serve.
  • Traditional Brahmin Nataraja Rasam can be served with traditional Vengaya Sambar and Beans Usili or Urulai Varuval.

Try this delicious simple rasam and do leave me your commments/ suggestions.

Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Karivepalai Kuzhambu. ( Curry Leaves roasted , ground and simmered in a tamarind gravy)

Karivepillai Kuzhambu.
Karivepillai Kuzhambu.

This Karivepilai Kuzhambu is a great option on a day when you dont feel like going for simple home cooked satvik food. Many times I take this option on a sunday afternoon for lunch as its filled with pepper and curry leaves, both of which act as a cleanser for the stomach. Teamed with Milagu Jeeraga Rasam and Simple Beans Poriyal, its an awesome sunday lunch option.


1 1/2 Tsp Urad Dhal

2 Red Chillies.

1 Tsp Black Pepper.

1/2 Cup Curry leaves packed.

2 Cups Tamarind Water.



To Season:

1 Tsp Bengal Gram.

A few Curry Leaves.

1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.


  • Wash the curry leave, pat them dry with a kitchen towel and allow to air dry for a few minutes.
  • Roast the first three ingredients in about a spoon of gingely oil- Red Chillies, Pepper and Urad Dhal on a medium flame until you see them turn light brown and there is a gentle aroma.
  • Add the washed and dried curry leaves and quickly turn down the flame.
  • Pulse the roasted ingredients in the mixer until you get a coarse powder. Set asided.
  • In a kadai, add about 2-3 tbsp of gingely oil and season with bengal gram and curry leaves. Add the tamarind water and the required amount of asfoetida, salt and turmeric powder.
  • Add the pulsed powder and allow to simmer on a medium flame until the raw smell goes and some of the water evaporates and the kuzhambu thickens.
  • When its cooked, dilute about 1/4 cup of water with a spoon of rice flour and mix it well. Add this to the kuzhambu for the thickening of it.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

“Kalyana Rasam.”(Tomato Broth seasoned with ground spices served at weddings)


I love spring. Period. Its that time of the year when barren brown trees are suddenly bursting with miniscule green buds everywhere, shrubs are already full of lovely colourful flowers and you actually hear chirping birds. From white gray roads, you see miles and miles of lush green grass everywhere. Spring in many places also brings with it showers and thunderstorms. Today was one such day. When I saw the morning sky was laden with dark clouds I immediately yearned for piping soup sprinkled liberally with garlic croutons. Rasam is one such comfort food for me – and I remembered  Jeyashri`s post that I had bookmarked for a “rainy” day, and I knew that I had had had to make it right away! I loved it mixed with rice and a dollop of ghee, with chips and subji on the side.  The best thing about this rasam is that it does not need Rasam Powder or tamarind!!!!


1 Medium/ 2 Small Tomatoes.

1/4 Cup  Cooked Toor Dhal.

1 1/2 Cups Water.

1 Tsp Ghee.

1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.

Curry leaves.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

A pinch of hing.

Cilantro to garnish.


1 Tbsp Toor Dhal.

1 Tsp Black Peppercorns.

1/4 Tsp Dhania Seeds.

1/4 Tsp Jeera.

1-2 red Chillies.


  • Chop the tomatoes finely and reserving a handful,  grind the rest with a little water to a smooth puree and transfer to a vessel. Switch on the flame.
  • Set aside the reserved chopped tomatoes.
  • Roast the toor dhal, pepper, dhania seeds and red chillies in a tsp of ghee on a medium low flame. At the last minute add the jeera and switch off the flame.
  • When cooled,  grind with a little water to a smooth paste.
  • Add the ground paste. salt, turmeric, hing and curry leaves and allow it to boil until the raw smell is gone. This should take about 10-12 minutes.
  • Now mash the cooked toor dhal, dilute it with the 1 1/2 cups of  water and add it to the boiling  tomato mix.
  • Give it a quick stir and allow it to just start boiling. When this happens switch off the flame, add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro.
  • Season with mustard seeds and close the container with a plate.
  • This is one of the most important steps as it locks in all the aromas and flavours until its ready to the served.


  1. I should be trying this version  with dilute tamarind water soon to see if that enhances the flavour. I have also seen versions using dilute tamarind water,.
  2. Its imperative that the jeera is not added initially as it brings out a bitter burnt aftertaste in the rasam.
  3. Some people also add a small piece of jaggery to the boiled rasam.

Do you have a favourite version of rasam that you enjoy???? Please let us know and we`ll try it out soon!


Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Sweet & Tart Pineapple Rasam. ( Tamarind Broth simmered with sweet pineapple chunks and spices)

My all time favorite fruits have always been Pineapples and Jackfruits, and they will always remain so. I am guessing its something to do with my olfactory senses and maybe its colour! Every time I smell fully ripe pineapples or jackfruits, I must must have them right away. Growing up in T.Nagar and having my roots in Palakkad must definitely have something to do with this favouritism I am guessing. Whenever little sis S and me used to go to Pondy Bazzar or shopping anywhere near RMKV or Pothys, its an unwritten rule to buy cleanly sliced pineapple pieces,and tart mango slices  generously hashed with fiery red spicy chilly powder and salt and spices and wrapped with juices flowing ,in pages of last month`s tamil magazine. The other vendor would have his ripe jackfruits wrapped in a green banana leaf and believe me or not, buying these fruits and relishing them in the hot and breezy summer evenings would give us more pleasure than any dress or salwar bought after hours of seiving through shelves of stacked clothes!

On my first job at the bank, we would have Sangeetha Restaurants right opposite our branch and lunches would always be Sangeetha Quick Lunch consisting of little portions of pulav, side dish, raitha, and Pineapple Kesari, in bright bright yellow! I cannot even begin to explain how much I love their Pineapple Kesari.. It was an amazing feeling to eat your favorite fruit in your favourite dessert! Now thats a post for another day, but today I made Pineapple Rasam, rich with the sweetness of the pineapples, tart from the tamarind broth, and earthy from the cilantro. There is something about Pineapple and Cilantro, they are great together in a Pineapple salsa as much as they are in a candle fragrance!!!


1 Cup Ripe diced pineapples.

3 Cups Thin Tamarind Water.

1 1/2 Tsp Rasam Powder.

1 – 1 1/2 Tsp Jaggery.

1/4 Cup Cooked Toor Dhal.

A few drops of Pineapple Essence.

Chopped Cilantro.


Salt to taste.


Mustard Seeds,

Curry Leaves.


  • Take a flat bottomed vessel and add the pieces of chopped pineapple and let it sit for a couple minute.s.  Take about 5-6 pieces and grind to a smooth paste with water and add this paste to the tamarind water.
  • Place the vessel over the stove and allow the jaggery to cook in the tamarind water.
  •  Add salt,hing,  jaggery, turmeric, rasam powder, cilantro and curry leaves and let it simmer and reduce a bit.
  • Take the cooked toor dhal and add about a cup of water and mash and mix it well until its a thin dhal water.
  • Add this dhal water to the reduced rasam and check for salt and sweetness.
  • Depending on the brand of jaggery and the sweetness and tartness in the pineapple, add a little more jaggery if needed.
  • Enhance the flavour and aroma of the pineapple by adding a couple drops of pineapple essence. You can omit this step if you want to.
  • When the rasam froth up, add chopped cilantro, remove from the stove and keep covered until ready to serve.
  • You will enjoy the aroma of sweet ,cooked pineapple combined with the intense citrusy earthy smell of the chopped corriander leaves.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties. · Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Hotel Style Tomato Sambar – Side for Dosa / Idlis.

Hotel Sambar.

Yesterday I had a particular craving for the hotel sambar from Saravana Bhavan in Chennai and I could not wish this out of my head. There are days when you are far away from home and you  crave for amma`s chutney , pulikachal or sambar.  This was borne out of an accident in my kitchen yesterday and I decided this was going to be a regular. I meant to make ” Dhal” for parathas and decided I was going to go ahead and make the Hotel Sambar anyways! So i used more moong dal in this dish, and to my surprise, it was almost close to the version of hotel sambar that is replicated at home. I am sure, we can never get the secret of Saravana Bhavan style sambar!!!


1 Medium Onion.

4 Roma Tomatoes/ Vine Tomatoes.

1 Tsp Grand sweets Vethakuzhambu Powder.

1 Tsp Rasam Powder.

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1 cup Moong Dal cooked mushy.

1/4 Cup Toor Dhal cooked mushy.



Cilantro for garnishing.


1 Tsp Mustard.

1 Tsp Jeera.

Curry Leaves.


  • Cook the Moong Dal in ample water unless its soft and squishy.  Mash well and set aside.
  • In a kadai, add 2 tsp oil and then the seasonings – Mustard, Jeera, Curry Leaves and then the hing.
  • Now add the chopped onions and saute until they are beautiful golden brown colour.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, vethakuzhambu powder, rasam powder, red chilli powder and allow to saute well until all the water is almost evaporated.
  • Now add the mushy moong dal and toor dal  to the kadai and a little more water and some more salt for the dals added.
  • Swirl on a little bit until its gets to a nice sambar like consistency and garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Enjoy Hotel style Tomato Sambar with crisp Ragi Dosas or Soft Fluffy Idlis.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vengaya Venthaya Kuzhambu. ( Shallots fried and simmered in spicy gravy with methi and spices)

Vengaya Venthaya Kuzhambu.

Venthaya Kuzhambu itself is a pretty awesome preparation redolent with the aroma and flavour of roasted methi seeds. In this version, we take it a step further and add ghee roasted shallots taking it to a different plane altogether. How can it not be a killer of a recipe? Combine it with a lazy sunday morning, cold winter/rainy days, hot beans poriyal or Urulai Roast and appalam,  and a great flick…What more can I say??? Try it and see for yourself. And mind you, it tastes even better on monday nights sitting and marinating  in the self same spices for a whole day….And yes, you are welcome!!!


1 medium red onion diced small or a cup of shallots peeled.

1 1/2 – 2 cups tamarind juice extracted.

3-4 red chillies

1 spoon of bengal gram.

1 1/2 spoons of methi seeds.

1 Tsp Vathal Kuzhambu Powder/ Sambar Powder.

Salt according to taste.



A spoon of cooked toor dhal (Optional)

A spoon of rice flour.

Curry Leaves.


  • Take a dry kadai and d ry roast the fenugreek on a medium low flame , until you smell the aroma of the seeds. Do not allow to brown too much. Powder in the mixer to a coarse powder and set aside.
  • Take a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and roast the shallots / diced onions until light brown. This partakes better flavour for the gravy. Set aside.
  • In the same kadai, use the remaining ghee and , add bengal gram, and 3-4 red chillies and allow to roast for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the mustard and when it splutters, add the crushed curry leaves and immediately the tamarind juice.
  • Add salt, turmeric, ground methi seeds powder, hing , the ghee roasted shallots and allow to slowly boil on a medium low flame.
  • After about 20 minutes or so, when the gravy has been reduced, and becomes a little thick, reduce the flame.
  • Mix 1/3 cup of water in the spoon of rice flour and mix briskly to dissolve clots. Also add the spoon of cooked toor dhal to bring it to a smooth homogenous consistency.
  • Pour this in to the kadai and mix well and allow to boil for a few more minutes.  (Consistency should be as shown in the pic.)
  • Delicious Vengaya Venthaya Kuzhambu is ready to be served with Beans Poriyal and Appalam.
Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Yennai Kathirikkai Araithu Vitta Kuzhambu (Baby Eggplants simmered in coconut tamarind gravy)

This post was lying in my drafts for such a long time…I am guessing four months….I thought it was really time I pulled it out to see the light of day. In my ever growing love for eggplants, this experiment was born in my kitchen, after eating something similar at a south indian restaurant nearby…The delicate flavour of the poppy seeds linger long enough and combined with the flavours of the spices, shallots and coconut milk…its a burst of earthy flavours in your mouth….


10 Baby Eggplants. Tender Brinjals.

1 Medium Onion Chopped or 10 shallots.

2 1/2 – 3 cups Tamarind Water.

3 Tsp Poppy Seeds.

1/3 cup Grated Coconut.

Handful of Raw Cashew.

2 Tbsp Coconut Milk (Optional).

1 1/2 spoons of Red Chilli Powder.

1/2 Spoon of Dhania Powder.

1 Spoon of Sambar Powder.



3 spoons of Gingely Oil. (This departs flavour to the dish so try not to substitute with Canola Oil or Refined Oil)

Mustard, Curry Leaves for Seasoning.

Cilantro to garnish.


  • Grind the coconut, cashew and poppy seeds with a little coconut milk and water to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • In a kadai, add the 3-4 spoons of Idhayam Gingely Oil and allow to heat.
  • Add Mustard, curry leaves a dash of hing and pop in the chopped onions. Allow to saute well.
  • Slice the brinjals in to four slices leaving the calyx intact. Sprinkle a dash of salt and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. This is render then half cooked.
  • When the onions are sauteed well, slowly add the brinjals and saute for a couple of minuted.
  • Now pour in the tamarind water.and add  salt, turmeric, sambar powder, dhania powder, red chilli powder and stir in well.
  • Cover and cook on medium heat for at least 20 minutes until the brinjals are soft and well cooked.

  • It is imperative that the brinjals are completely cooked until soft, as any hard portions would spoil the richness and taste.
  • After the 20 minutes, add the ground coconut-poppy seed paste and stir in well.
  • Allow the entire pot to come to a boil and the oil seperates from the gravy.
  • Switch off the stove and garnish with chopped Cilantro.
  • Serve kuzhambu with Urulai Fry or Sepangkizhangu Fry.

Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

GUEST POST – Tangy Tomato Porichcha Rasam.( Tomato broth with roasted spices simmered to perfection)

This post comes to  you straight from the middle of the world, all the way from Ghana, from a very good blogger friend and my guide in so many culinary aspects – Lata Raja.of Flavours & Tastes, ..Yes, lets hear it for her!!! I had always wanted the authentic tamil recipe for Poricha Rasam and I urged Lata to post it on Anubhavati for the Guest Blog Series. She felt it was way too simple for a Guest Post – But in many ways, the most tasty things in life are extremely simplistic. So here goes…the recipe for Poricha Rasam,. Try it and I am sure you`ll love its delicate flavours of tamarind, tomato and the zing from the roasted spices.

Porichcha rasam:

Porichcha rasam can be made quite easily as it does not involve soaking the tamarind and extracting pulp. Also the dhal used is far less in quantity, that you may use the more lighter water that surfaces on the top after the thick precipitate settles down, which we may eventually use for sambhar.
Tomatoes 2 large
Toor Dhal extract 300 ml ( pressure cooked thuvar dhal, mashed and water added to it)
Asafoetida powder a pinch
Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste.
To be dry roasted and ground to a paste:
2 teaspoons channa dhal
3 pieces dry red chilli (adjust according to spice requirement)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-6 black pepper corns.
1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
few curry leaves.
Fresh coriander leaves.
  • Boil tomatoes and remove the peel. Mash the  pulp and add to the dhal extract.
  • Add some more water and bring this to a boil with salt and turmeric powder added to it.
  • Add the ground paste and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add asafoetida powder.
  • Remove from the stove top and temper with the ingredients listed.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped  coriander leaves.
  • Serve with hot steamed rice.
  • Optionally some coconut may be added to the grinding of the roasted spices to make a variety of Mysore rasam.
  • On days you dont have cooked toor dhal ready,  you may mix paruppu podi in water, if you have handy, and add to the tomatoes. In such a case, reduce the spice because the paruppu podi will have salt and spice in it.
  • For a more tangy taste, squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime fruit after removing from the flame. Alternately you may make a small ball of tamarind and boil along with the tomatoes and remove the scum while pulping the tomatoes.
  • You may choose to grind only the channa dhal and coriander seeds along with red chillis and add the cumin powder and black pepper powder to the tempering.
I tried Lata`s version of Porichcha Rasam yesterday and loved the results. I did have loads of tomatoes leftover from the making of Delicious TOmato Thokku, which were slowly beginning to get over ripe. …I remembered Nupur`s event and I quickly tried Lata`s Poricha Rasam but made a few modifications though.
  • I used dilute tamarind water for a base as I prefer rasam with a little tang.
  • I also used “Arkansas Tomatoes” as i felt that they were almost close to the flavourful tangy tomatoes that you get in India. I was very pleased with the results.
  • I dry ground the dry roasted spices and added them to the toor-dhal-tomato water.
  • Aromatic and tang infused Porichcha Rasam was very delicious and comforting.
  • Served with Beans Poriyal and Ten  Minute Cucumber Kootu.

Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu (Drumstick and spices simmered in Aromatic tamarind tomato gravy)

Drumsticks have always been a favourite vegetable of my daughter and me of course…Every time amma made Drumstick Sambar, the aroma would simply fill the entire home.  The Drumstick is more valued for its tender pods. Homes in south india cook the drumsticks and eat the pods and the fleshy portions with great gusto. Nutritionally, drumstick pods and leaves are of great value as sources of acrotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. The leaves, flowers and fruits of drumstick which are used as vegetable have great nutritional value. Drumstick leaves are used in making delicious Murunga Yelai Adai. My husband`s home has a large drumstick tree filled with slender long drumsticks and every time we go there, we insist on picking them and getting them cooked in delicious sambar. Today I had picked a packet of frozen drumsticks from the local store and wanted to make someting very different. I chanced on Solai`s Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu and decided that I had to make it for the day.


7-8 pieces of sliced drumsticks.

1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Water extracted from tamarind.

1 cup Water.

Salt to taste.


2 Tsp Sambar Powder.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

2  Tsp Fennel.

15 Small Onions / Shallots diced.

1 Roma Tomato Diced.

Curry Leaves.

1/4 cup Coconut.

1/4 cup toor dhal cooked, diluted with water.


  • Keep all the ingredients ready to be used.
  • Grind together in the mixer : 1 Tsp Fennel, 1/4 cup Coconut, 2 Tsp Sambar Powder, 1 Tsp Dhania Powder. Using a little water grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • In a kadai, add 2 tsp oil and urad dhal, mustard, curry leaves for seasoning. When the mustard has spluttered, add onions and allow to saute.
  • When the onions are well done, add the diced tomatoes. Allow to saute well.
  • Now add the chopped drumsticks and 1/2 cup water and allow to cook well.
  • When the drumsticks have cooked in the water, add the tamarind water to the kadai.
  • Add salt and turmeric powder and then the ground paste.
  • Allow to come to a boil and then add the dliuted dhal water.
  • When it thickens a little switch off the gas.
  • Serve HOT with Urulai Roast or Beans Poriyal.