Rasam powder is a flavorful and aromatic blend of digestive spices that is an absolute must in your kitchen. Having this powder ground and ready helps to make rasam in a jiffy.
Ingredients (makes about 100ml or 3oz of powder):
- Cumin (jeera) seeds (1 tbsp)
- Black pepper corns (1 tbsp)
- Coriander (dhaniya) seeds (1 tbsp or less)
- Bengal gram (toor) dhal (1 tbsp)
- Dried red chillies (1-2) (depending on taste)
- Curry leaves (a handful)
- Dry roast all the ingredients, preferably separately (together should be okay if you are short on time) on medium heat till they are browned. Keep stirring to ensure that the seeds don’t get burned.
- Cool the ingredients and dry grind till the mixture is powdered finely.
Sweet (toor dhal, coriander seeds), sour (none), salty (none), bitter (curry leaves), pungent (pepper, chillies), astringent (coriander seeds).
Let’s look at each of the ingredients in rasam powder and see their doshic influence. Coriander seeds are tridoshic and are good for pitta pacification. They are a good digestive aid and diuretic. Cumin seeds are warming and drying. They are good for assisting digestion and relieving flatulence. These properties make cumin a good vata and kapha pacification spice, while not overly pitta stimulating. Pepper is heating and definitely pitta provoking. It destroys mucus in the digestive tract and sinuses and is kapha pacifying. It helps will expelling gas and is good for vata pacification. Pepper also improves circulation. Red chillies are aggravating for all doshas, so you can skip these and increase the amount of black pepper instead. The addition of the chillies to the powder is just to add to the flavor. Curry leaves are pitta provoking but vata and kapha pacifying in nature. They are also digestive in nature.
Rasam powder can probably be considered to be overall rajasic in nature. Reducing the quantity of black pepper is crucial to reducing the rajasic properties of the rasam powder. It is the main spice mix added to make rasam – a well known digestive soup in South Indian cooking. By adjusting the tastes in the rasam to be less sour, salty and pungent, the rasam can be made more sattvic in nature. Tamasic qualities get introduced in the rasam powder if it is stored for too long and then used or if stale ingredients are used to make it.