Vegetarian cooking blog

Wednesday 22 July 2020


Rasam is a popular South Indian dish prepared with tamarind, tomatoes, and Rasam powder. There are many variations of this dish, and each South Indian household has its own recipe for the proportions of the ingredients of the rasam powder. Therefore though Rasam is almost a regular feature in all South Indian households its taste is unique to each. No two Rasam recipes taste the same. Rasam is also a sought after comfort food in South Indian households when one has a Cold(Common Cold) or is a little under the weather because it is made of simple ingredients that are easily digestible and pepper that helps in combating the cold. 

Earlier the Rasam was an everyday feature in most South Indian households along with Sambar or Vatha Kozhambu or Moru Kozhambu and a part of the Main course. Some households follow it to this day, but as the eating patterns of people has changed and is now more global the humble Rasam has taken a back seat or is made on a festival day where there is a feast(Elai Sapadu) or sometimes is also being served as a soup in elite gatherings.

There are different types of Rasam Like the Pepper Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Lemon Rasam, Garlic Rasam, Neem Flower (Vepampoo) Rasam, Drumstick Rasam, Pineapple Rasam and the Vetrilai(Betel leaf) Rasam. I have already posted the recipe of pineapple Rasam and slowly over a period of time plan to cover all the Rasam varieties mentioned here. 

The Vetrilai also called Vethalai Rasam is has Betel leaves, Tomatoes, and the Rasam Powder as the main ingredients. This Rasam is a very mildly flavoured rasam. For more intense flavour add more Betel leaves. I am posting the recipe of the Rasam powder as the powder used makes a great impact on the flavour of the Rasam. This is also the reason why I said that the Rasam of no two households tastes the same as each has its own proportion. That said Rasam in any form is Comfort food😊.

While you are here please check out the recipe of Pineapple Rasam.
Here is the recipe of Vetrilai Rasam for you--

PREP TIME: 10 Mins                                          COOK TIME: 20 Mins
TOTAL TIME: 30 Mins                                      COURSE:  MAIN / APPETISER
CUISINE: SOUTH INDIAN                               SERVINGS: 4
                                                                              AUTHOR: Rajni Ram


Betel leaves/Vetrilai 10-12 leaves(refer note 1)
Tomatoes 5 (note 3)
Tuvar dal/ Yellow lentils 1/4 cup cooked in a pressure cooker
Rasam powder 3 tsp
Green chilli 1
Lemon 1
Coriander leaves finely chopped
Garlic(optional) (refer note 2)
Asafoetida 1 tsp (split 1/2 while boiling and 1/2 for tempering)
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Roasted Pepper & Cumin powder 1 tsp( dry roast in the ratio 2:1 and grind coarse)

Put the dal in a vessel and cook it in the pressure cooker. I used pot in pot method, you can use whichever is convenient. The dal should have cooked well. Remove the stalks from Betel leaves, reserve one leaf for garnish and put the remaining in a blender, put 2 chopped tomatoes and the green chilli into the blender too, and grind them to a smooth puree. Chop the remaining 3 tomatoes into big cubes and put them in a 1-litre vessel. Add the Betel leaf-tomato puree also to this vessel and pour 3 cups water(1 cup =150 ml). Put the vessel on a medium flame and add the Rasam Powder, followed by turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Boil the mixture until the raw smell of the Betel leaves and tomatoes is gone(around 7 minutes from boiling on medium flame). Now separate the water from the cooked dal and reserve. Mash the dal nicely with the back of a ladle. Pour the dal into the boiling mixture followed by the reserved water and add 2 to 3 cups of more plain water. Now continue to boil the mixture on a low flame until the Rasam froths up and boils and starts rising in the vessel( around 10 minutes on low flame). Don't let it to overflow. When it rises up squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and put off the flame immediately. Now take 2 tsp ghee in a small tempering Kadai and heat. Add mustard seeds, as they crackle add the Asafoetida powder, roasted pepper-cumin powder and put off the stove. Now add the curry leaves to the ghee, and pour the tempering into the Rasam. Garnish with finely cut Betel leaves(only 1 leaf will do) and coriander leaves. The yummy Vetrilai Rasam is ready to slurp. Enjoy and Bon Appetit.

Serving suggestions: Just as a soup, with hot rice and ghee, with Oats porridge(try this it tastes yummy). 
Sometimes I also pour it on my chapatis while hot.😉

1. Assemble all ingredients. Cook the dal and keep ready. Remove the stalks from the Betel leaves, cut them to big bits, chop the tomatoes and keep aside.

2. In a blender put in the cut Betel leaves(reserve 1 for garnish), 2 chopped tomatoes, and green chilli and puree them smooth.

3. In a 1 litre vessel put the remaining 3 chopped tomatoes and the Betel-tomato puree and pour 3 cups of water. Put the vessel on the flame. Now add Rasam powder, Salt, turmeric powder, asafoetida and bring to a boil on medium flame. Keep boiling until the raw smell of the rasam powder and the Betel leaves goes away. This takes approximately 7 minutes on medium flame.

4. Now mash the dal nicely, if the dal has retained water, reserve it. Pour the dal into the boiling Rasam mixture, follow it up with the reserved dal water and add 2-3 more cups of plain water, and start boiling again on low flame.

5. Around about 10 minutes of boiling on a low flame the Rasam should start frothing up and rising in the vessel. When it starts coming towards the brim, add lemon juice and put off the stove immediately.

6. In a tempering Kadai heat 2 tsp of ghee. when it heats up put the mustard seeds into it, as they crackle add the asafoetida and the roasted cumin-pepper powder. Put off the flame and then add the curry leaves. Drop this tempering into the Rasam and serve hot with hot rice and ghee or follow any of the serving suggestions given above. 

1. Betel leaves come in many varieties, but 2 of them are popular and in common use. One is light green and thin(the one I have used and you see in my pictures) another is a little deeper shade of green and the leaves are thick. So if using the light green ones use 10 to 12 leaves. If using the darker ones then reduce the quantity by half, use about 6-8 leaves as their flavour is more intense. 

2. If using garlic grind it along with the Betel tomato puree. Around 2 pods should be enough or it will overpower the Betel taste.

3. I have used the sweeter hybrid variety of tomatoes(Bangalore ones) which I usually don't, hence I used 5 of them. If using the country variety(Naatu thakkali) then 3 should be enough. Two to grind and two to put chopped. 

4. If you serve Rasam with something unusual do let us, know..we love learning and trying new combinations.

If you tried this recipe and liked it please comment below. I would love to hear from you.



  1. Just what I need today! Trying this!

  2. Just what I need today! Trying this!

  3. Gayathri Anand thank you for trying my recipes ardently ❤❤



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