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Monday, 23 December 2019

Pepper Rasam / Milagu Rasam

Pepper rasam or the Milagu Rasam is an aromatic and flavorful thin soup from South Indian Cuisine. This tangy and spicy rasam is one of the easiest and quickest of the rasam varieties and often taken as a home remedy to sore throat, cough and cold. Pepper rasam helps in metabolism, combats allergies and boosts the body's immune system. As the name suggests , black pepper corn is the star ingredient of this rasam. Apart from pepper, cumin seeds, garlic and whole red chili add a spicy kick to the rasam. Tamarind and tomatoes are used to impart the typical tangy flavor . Herbs like coriander and curry leaves and the rich ghee tempering make this pepper rasam all the more delicious. Pepper rasam is gluten-free and often served with warm steamed rice and ghee but it also makes for a soulful soup on its own on a cold winter evening.

What is a Rasam? 

Rasam often referred as saaru or chaaru is a thin tangy spiced soup from South Indian Cuisine. It is traditionally prepared with tamarind or kokum juice at its base with addition of tomato, chili, pepper, cumin and other spices as seasonings. Rasam is eaten with other dishes like rice or idli or by itself as a spicy soup. Cooked lentils may or may not be added to it. A special spice mix called rasam podi/ powder is often added to the rasam to make it all the more flavorful. There are many varieties of rasam. Rasam is different from sambar in taste and preparation and its consistency is also thinner compared to sambar.

Grandma's Remedies

Grandma's remedies are the age-old, tried and tested simple household tips for common health problems and minor ailments like cold, sore throat, stomach upset, tooth ache, bee sting. These are the natural cures often from the kitchen shelf which are not only instant and economical but also without any side effects.Almost every family in India has a set of such Grandma's remedies that are been passed on from generations.

In our family we prepare Dinkache Ladoo ( edible gum dry fruit ladoo), Meethi gaund ladoo ( fenugreek seeds ladoo) and Tilgul ladoo ( Sesame seeds and jaggery balls) every year during Winter months. All these ladoos provide warmth to the body and the medicinal properties of its ingredients prevent us from many common ailments and improves the body immunity. Similarly Haldi Doodh ( Golden Latte) is consumed every night before bed which has antiseptic, antimicrobial properties and gives relief from pains and aches. Then there is a kadha (concoction) made from holy basil and warm spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon to combat sore throat and cold. I remember when during my pregnancy and when I was a new mom, my mumma and grandma came up with countless such home remedies for every single minor health problem. They gave me Dates and Nuts Ladoo and  Anjeer Khajoor Ladoo during pregnancy which not only acted as healthy energy balls but also helped me improve my haemoglobin levels being rich in iron. Then mumma made the Aliv Kheer and Aliv Ladoo after my delivery which are calcium rich and boosts milk production in lactating moms. The Khus-Khus Khobaryachi Aamti is a curry made from poppy seeds, garlic and coconut which again provided warmth to the body. Similarly, there are variety of coolant remedies that help to cool the body during harsh Summer season like Sattu Ka Ghol, Bael ka Sharbet, homemade gulkand etc.All such home remedies have either medicinal properties or prevent our body from various minor health ailments.

With a thought of sharing such household tips with our readers, Narmadha who blogs at Namscorner, suggested Grandma's Remedies as the 226th theme on our Gourmet Facebook group, Foodie Monday Bloghop. Do check out her space for some traditional South Indian recipes and other interesting recipes from around the globe. Pepper Rasam is my humble contribution towards the theme.


What goes into this Pepper Rasam?

Black Pepper is the star ingredient of this rasam. I have used a teaspoon of pepper here. Apart from pepper, cumin seeds and garlic cloves are coarsely pounded in a mortar and pestle and used in this recipe. Though you may skip garlic if you wish to do so. Tamarind and tomatoes add tang to the rasam. Herbs like fresh coriander and curry leaves add a refreshing flavor to the dish. A bit of sambar powder is added. You may use any curry spice powder or garam masala if you do not have sambar masala or simply skip it. Ghee tempering adds a lovely rich aroma and taste to the rasam. I would recommend use of ghee only in this rasam. For a vegan version, sesame seeds oil may be used. This rasam is a thin spicy tangy soup, so maintain its consistency. So, let's get started.


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 cups

  • Small gooseberry size tamarind 
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sambar masala 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
For Rasam Paste:
  • 1 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
For Tempering:
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
For Garnishing:
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
  1. Rinse the tamarind and soak it in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes. After soaking time, extract its juice and strain it in a sauce pan.

2. Pound the cumin seeds, garlic and black pepper corn in a mortar and pestle. You can pulse it in a mixer grinder as well if you wish.

3. Add the pounded rasam paste to the extracted tamarind juice. Add curry leaves, chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and sambar masala to it.

4. Boil it on a low to medium heat. Once it starts boiling, simmer it for 8-10 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.

5. Now, add around 2 cups water to it and boil the mixture. Once froth starts forming at the top, put off the flame. Garnish the rasam with finely chopped coriander leaves.

6. For the tempering, heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds crackle add red chilly and curry leaves. Put off the flame after few seconds. Pour this tempering over the rasam.

7. Serve the tamarind rasam with steamed rice and ghee or have it on its own like a comforting and soothing soup.

Recipe Notes:
  • I have referred the recipe from here
  • For a vegan version, replace ghee with oil.
  • The original recipe had 2 tomatoes, i have used only one taking into consideration the taste and liking of my family.
  • Do not pulse the pepper, garlic and cumin mix very fine, use a mortar and pestle for pounding the spices coarsely for best results.
  • Pepper rasam can be sipped as a soup on its own or served as a side dish. It tastes great with steamed rice and ghee.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

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  1. Replies
    1. Yes, this pepper rasam is full of flavours. Thank you.

  2. I love Pepper & Cumin Rasam. It's delicious and so refreshing, just perfect for cold weather.

    Yours looks utterly delectable.

  3. Pepper and cumin rasam looks superbly delicious, comforting and refreshing. Hot bowl of this rasam is perfect for this chilled weather.

    1. Absolutely di. Pepper rasam is both soothing and soulful.

  4. Its interesting to know of all the different healthy foods or drinks that every family tends to have for various illnesses and as prevention too. Pepper rasam is definitely what we need as its quite cold and sipping on it would be so comforting.

    1. Age old home remedies for common ailments and health issues are really effective . This pepper rasam is absolutely comforting especially in the winter season

  5. I need this hot piping rasam now. Loving all the different recipes you have mentioned here which helps to protect our body

    1. Thank you Renu. Glad to know you liked the post.

  6. Very informative post and you have so many medicinal recipes. Pepper rasam looks so inviting and it is most commonly made dish in my home.

    1. Thank you Narmadha. I am glad, you found the post informative.

  7. I love this post Poonam the information about traditional medicine is great. As for the pepper rasam it was my favorite over a period I have forgotten it. Will be making it tomorrow for some guests.

  8. Hey hi, these are really make you want to drink. I'm probably going to organize a couple of evenings to have some friends over and test out friends recommendations.
    Flavored water

  9. This Pepper Rasam is absolutely delicious and comforting all the time. A regular dish at my place. Home remedies by our grandmoms have been passed on from generation to generation are the best.

  10. Delicious pepper & cumin rasam..loved it

  11. Thanks for sharing such beautiful information with us. I hope you will share some more information about pepper rasam milagu.Please keep sharing.
    Health Is A Life

  12. The pepper rasam is an absolute winter treat, Poonam!