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Coconut milk and lentil rasam from Andhra Pradesh

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

I have become fascinated by rasam recently and my cookbooks have a variety of them from different states in India. They vary tremendously in flavor, texture and composition but they are all delicious. Rasams do have the advantage of being the first type of "nutritional shot" because they are loaded with healthy spices and herbs and are light and nutritious. So far I have made a traditional Black pepper rasam from Tamil Nadu, a Lentil and tamarind rasam from Karnataka and a Ginger rasam from Kerala.

This is a bold rasam that is a bit thicker than the regular rasams. The mashed toor dal adds a wonderful texture and it is infused with coconut that make it very luxurious. The green chilies and spices add the wonderful pop of flavor that make you want more. I serve this rasam as an aperitif before dinner, and it opens the palate and appetite of my guests.

This is another cookbook from Chandra Padmanabhan that I adore. The recipes are varied across the southern states in India and each recipe turns out very well. The recipes, like this one, are authentic and wonderfully flavored. This cookbook is for those who want to go beyond the ordinary and enjoy very localized cuisines from the South.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 cup toor dal

5 cups water

Salt, to taste

1/3 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup shallots, finely minced

1-2 green chilies, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Salt, to taste

Lime juice, to taste

To temper:

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

5-6 curry leaves

1/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Pinch of asafortida

Cilantro, to garnish

Boil the toor dal with salt and water till very well cooked, in a pressure cooker or Instapot (45 minutes) is fine. The dal should be broken down. Cool and purée the dal in a small blender or with a hand blender.

Add the coconut milk, shallots, green chilies, ginger, and turmeric and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 20 minutes till the shallots are translucent and the ginger no longer tastes raw. Add water if needed.

Take off the heat and bring the consistency of a very light soup. Taste and adjust salt and spice.

To temper, heat the oil in a small pot and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Fry on medium heat till the mustard seeds pop, about 20 seconds, and add the garlic and cook tlll they are light golden. Add the curry leaves, chili powder and asafortida and take off the heat immediately and pour over the rasam. Mix in well.

Serve hot in glasses topped with the cilantro garnish.

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