Onion rasam – A steamy South Indian soup


10 min


15 min

As I was shopping at the Farmer’s market few weeks back, my eyes raced to the small stall selling pearl onions. I have always thought of making Vengaya Rasam (onion rasam) or Vengaya Vathakozhambhu (tamarind based gravy) some day but refrained from doing them as I have always considered fixing those dishes as a complicated process. Still, I was compelled to grab a bag and buy couple of pounds of those. Having found the clean pristine white onions, I decided to prepare them the following week with my mom’s step-by-step telephonic tutorial.

I prepare hearty and healthy South Indian meals on most of the days. So a variation in the dishes to be served at the dinner table is a must. I play around with different sambars made from different vegetables, moorkuzhambhu, different types of rasam, variety rice, kootu, stir fried vegetables and so on. I have learnt to cook more than 10 varieties of rasam from my amma.

This post is about the most yummy rasam made with finely sliced pearl onions. The tempering of fresh curry leaves and onions in oil blends wonderfully with the simmering tamarind juice. This is one of the quickest rasam to prepare as no time is spent on cooking any lentil (dhal). The spicy dry red chillies and asafoetida fills the kitchen with warming aroma and spares no one from peeping inside asking for a bowl of this aromatic soup. S and I enjoy rasam as a soup for the cold winter nights. I served my rasam with beetroot curry and rice. Any stir fried vegetable sides or any dry non-vegetarian side dishes like Indian prawn curry/ fish fry/ chicken curry would work perfect.

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp asafoetida

2 dry red chillies

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1-2 tsp toor dhal

2 tsp turmeric powder
10-12 curry leaves – chopped
1 cup pearl onions – finely chopped (Any variety of onion can be used)

2 lemon size – tamarind

1/2 tbs
rasam podi(recipe here)

250ml water

Salt to taste

1/4 tbs oil


Cleans and de-skin the onions and finely chop them. Set aside.

Squeeze the juice out of the tamarind with water and reserve approximately 2 cups of it. Set aside.

Heat oil in a cooking pan. Once the oil gets heated up, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Throw in the asafoetida, dry red chillies, cumin seeds, fenugreek, toor dhal and cook for couple of minutes. Add the curry leaves and onions. Cook for further 3- 5 minutes on medium high flame. Sprinkle the turmeric powder, rasam podi, little chilli powder and salt. Cook till the raw smell disappears. Pour in the tamarind juice and let it boil. Add 50ml water to dilute the soup. Cook covered for 15min. Serve hot.

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  1. My all time fav,would lov to eat with rice and fish fry… wish u Happy new year and a gr8 blogging year ahead…

  2. Nice comforting rasam Vij, my grandma makes this often. Wish You a Very Happy New Year!!!

  3. Thats a comforting and delicious rasam da…..
    When i am ill and don't feel like taking food, i can have a cup of Rasam sadham:)

  4. I have never had this….but now of course, I am going to have to try for sure…this looks divine!

  5. Anonymous 11 years ago

    This is the first time i am hearing abt onion rasam.. it sounds very simple.. gonna try it soon.. will let u know how it came out for me.. aarthi elumalai here..

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