Rasam & Rice – Sadya Recipes


We started from the letter ‘A’ and now we are in ‘R’. I am glad I haven’t missed any of the letters/recipes in between :-).

Now in R, we have rice and then we have rasam. There is already a Lemon rasam under L, but then the usual rasam recipe needs to be featured here, right?

This rasam recipe has a Tamil Nadu background, as it’s my MIL’s. Whenever we eat out in Kerala restaurants, I make them run for their money when it comes to sambar and side dishes, but rasam – that remains untouched. It is just spicy peppery water most of the time.


Now coming to my MIL, her rasams are classic! Try some of it and you won’t want anything else! Its light on stomach and tastes fantastic. I learnt the recipe from her, but I have never been able to get that wonderful taste of her rasam.

Anyway, scroll down for my recipe…



  • Rasam is served after sambar in a sadya. (Its dal first, then sambar and then rasam). Like sambar and dal, you need to mix it with rice and have with vegetables as side dish. Appalam and rasam is a great combination.
  • Its a good digestive and is easy on stomach. It helps you lighten your stomach so that you can attack the payasam round with renewed energy.
  • Rasam is watery and not very thick. Tempering for rasam, if done with ghee, tastes amazing.
  • Just like sambar, rasam is a combination of tamarind water + dal. But the proportion is different – less dal and more water. Unlike sambar, you don’t add many vegetables in a rasam, except tomatoes.
  • My MIL doesn’t make a separate rasam powder. She uses her homemade sambar powder and adds pepper powder to it.


  • Tamarind paste      :          1 tsp
  • Tomato                      :          1
  • Sambar powder      :          1.5 tsp
  • Pepper powder       :          1/2 -1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves   :          a handful, washed and chopped
  • Toor dal                    :          2-3 tbsp, cooked
  • Water
  • Salt

For seasoning:

  • Ghee                          :         1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds      :          1 tsp
  • Curry leaves          :          5-6


  1. I do the cooking portion in MW. You can do the same on stove top as well.
  2. Cook and keep the dal aside. I usually keep a portion in fridge when I make dal for sambar.
  3. In a MW proof bowl, add one cup of water, chopped tomatoes, sambar powder, pepper powder, salt and microwave for about 5-6 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked.
  4. Add one more cup of water, transfer this to a kadai and bring it to a boil on stove top. Mash the dal and keep it ready. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mashed dal and let it boil for 2-3 minutes more. Check the taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Take off the heat.
  5. In a small pan, heat the ghee. Add mustard seeds and when its done, add the curry leaves. When curry leaves change color, pour it onto the prepared rasam. Serve with rice.


We have talked about umpteen number of side dishes, but not the main dish – Rice! And that happens even for Sadyas. There are many stories where for combined Onasadya (friends sharing the dishes and finally eating at one place), all the dishes will be there and every one forgot the rice!

We will not do that here – I remembered the rice and here it is…

There are mainly three varieties of rice – Red rice (Matta ari, chemba ari), Boiled rice and Raw rice.

For each of these rice types, there are different varieties in itself (Sona masoori, Doppi, Ponni etc) depending on the seed that was harvested to make the rice. (That’s what my mother told me).

Raw rice is consumed mainly in Tamil Nadu where as Kerala is totally into red rice.

Keralities love the red rice with a passion that can only be equaled with the hatred other state people have for it. Talk to anyone from the neighboring states and they will say :”Great meal in Kerala, but the mota (thick) rice totally ruined it!”

And that’s the reason why my sadya has white rice. My husband and my son are not used to this rice and they don’t prefer it. So I hardly buy it now a days, but hog on whenever possible at my friends’ places ;-)


Red rice takes more time to cook and since time in mornings are precious, we were brought upon boiled rice at my place. Still whenever possible, we make chemba rice.

I hope you can see the difference between the three types of rice. Red rice is easy to differentiate, the boiled rice has a slightly transparent (glassy) texture than the raw rice.


Off the three types, raw rice cooks fast and the grains are thin and long. Boiled rice takes more time than raw rice to cook. The cooked rice is thicker than raw rice.

There is no generalization for cooking time, because this varies from batch to batch. But on an average, 3-4 whistles in the pressure cooker is enough for raw rice and 5 – 7 whistles for boiled rice.

Chemba rice takes longer time than the other two to cook. The cooked rice has streaks of red lines and is quite thick compared to raw rice. At our home we go for the pressure cooker method, but its best to do it on stove top and drain off the starch or use a thermal cooker.

So which rice do you use at your place and how do you cook it?


Previous Posts:

  1. A – Avial, Ada Pradhaman, Achinga Payar – Chena Mezhukkupiratti
  2. B – Beetroot Kichadi, Beet root thoran, Beans Thoran
  3. C  – Carrot Thoran, Cabbage Thoran
  4. D – Daal – Parippu Curry
  5. E – Erisseri – Chena & Mathan Vanpayaru
  6. F – Fruit Pachadi
  7. G – God’s Own Country – Kerala
  8. H – How to Serve a Sadya
  9. I – Inji Puli
  10. J – Jackfruit Payasam – Chakka Payasam
  11. K – Kalan & Koottu Curry
  12. L – Lemon Rasam
  13. M – Mambazha Pulisseri & Mathan Pachadi
  14. N – Neer Moru/ButterMilk
  15. O – Olan
  16. P – Payasam & Pookkalam
  17. Q – Quaker Oats Payasam
  18. R – Rice and Rasam

Logo courtesy : Preeti

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32

Linking this to Valli’s Side Dish Mela


19 thoughts on “Rasam & Rice – Sadya Recipes

  1. Dear Chef,
    Thank you so much for gathering so much information and notes on rice and resam they are very informative ,the photography is clear and neat
    I wish to know how many grams or cups of rose matta rice is required to serve 5 people?
    Similarly how many cups of basmathi or ponni rice is sufficient to serve 5 people for a sadhya or daily basis?
    Thank you so much for the time .


    1. Half cup rice per person is what we use. It will be a little more than what you need, but I would say that’s better than being a bit short :). Good luck!


  2. I remember visiting Kerala years ago on vacation and saying exactly the same thing that you said “mota red rice”. I think my taste is more matured now, will have to see if the Indian grocers carry this rice.
    Rasam looks absolutely perfect. Thanks for a lovely post.


  3. I once bought brown rice but no one at home liked it. We prefer boiled ponni rice for day to day cooking. Very interesting post on rice varieties. Ad rasam is my fav. It looks delicious…


  4. I had picked up red rice from a Kerala store in Mumbai and love it when cooked. I made watery soup like rice and had it with ghee and pickles. It was amazing taste.
    As always your post is very well written.


  5. Rasam looks very inviting Rajini and we use red rice most of the times though my daughter feels that rasam thaniya saadam thaniya irukku…like it taste though:-)


  6. Such a nice post.Mom often recollects an incident where a group of friends got together for lunch and the one hosting it forgot to steam rice!!
    And I have been wanting to try matta ari but am hesitant as my folks prefer the regular rice…


  7. What a beautiful post Rajani..actually when we have sadya, the red rice is what is must!..we love it with sambar and avial..very beautiful pictures and the rice pics are fantastic..great job in getting it done so well!


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