Rasam powder made easy

adds a great deal of aroma and flavor

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Fresh rasam power adds a great deal of aroma and flavor to your rasams and to many other dishes you can make with recipes found in this collection.

It’s always been a bit intimidating to venture into the ‘grind your own spices’ space. This was the exclusive preserve of grandmothers and mothers. I remember going to the “mill”, as a little boy growing up in Chennai, with my grandmother or her sister (my great aunt) to have several containers of spices ground. From wheat to turmeric to sambar and rasam powers; there was a mystery about these blends. Each family had its own recipe and the flavors of their rasam or sambar would be quite distinct.

Once I stepped into this foray it was actually less intimidating. You can try it too. All you really need is a small spice grinder /dry grinder similar to a coffee grinder. Try it and soon you will be making your own fresh spice blends.

Rasam powder made easy


  • Coriander seeds – 1 cup
  • Toor dal (pigeon peas) – 3/4 cup
  • Dried red chilies – 7 – 12
  • Black pepper corns – 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 3 tbsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Ground turmeric – 1 tbsp
  • Asafoetida Powder – 1 tbsp


  • This quantity makes enough rasam powder to fit in an empty spaghetti sauce jar. You can make less by using half the quantities
  • You can dry a couple of bunches of curry leaves and roast them for a couple of minutes with the chilies and grind them up as well
  • Fenugreek is optional and some recipes call for 1/2 chana and toor dals
  • You may prefer to add double the quantity of asafoetida. I prefer adding it when I make rasam
  • The number of chilies used can be varied based on your preference and the hotness of the chilies. The long flat ones are best.


N.B. : DO NOT use a nonstick pan for dry roasting. Please use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Stir the ingredients frequently as you roast them over medium heat. Use a good exhaust fan to keep from coughing when you roast the chilies.

  1. Dry roast the dal in a heavy bottom skillet for a few minutes until they become golden brown and pour it on a plate to cool.
  2. Dry roast the chilies till they darken but do not blacken and pour them also on the plate.
  3. Dry roast the coriander seeds for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, cumin and fenugreek and roast, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown. Place in a separate bowl to cool.
  4. In a spice grinder / dry grinder, first grind the dal and chilies until they are a fine powder. Remove and then grind the other ingredients into a fine powder and combine the two and mix well.
  5. Voila! You have made your first batch of rasam powder.