Lemon Rasam is a light and comforting South Indian style broth. This easy and delicious soup tastes heavenly with hot steamed rice and some Poriyal by the side. Made with lentils, whole spices and fresh lemons, this is a Rasam without Rasam powder.
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We call this Nimmakaya Chaaru in Telugu, elumbichai Rasam in Tamil and lemon Saaru in Kannada. This Rasam, when mixed with hot steamed rice or cooked millet is nothing short of heaven.
I always make it a point to make some of this tangy soup style Rasam after binge eating all the Diwali sweets or a heavy meal that featured paneer recipes or rich desserts. Since this has pepper, cumin and ginger, it is a great digestive aid.
Making lemon Rasam is easy since it calls for no Rasam powder. This makes it the perfect beginners’ recipe. Like my North Indian friend tells, Nimbu Rasam is the best recipe to start learning how to cook South Indian recipes.
What I love most about this Rasam is that it not only makes for a great accompaniment to rice but also doubles up as a light soup. If you make lemon rasam without dal, you can even serve this as a light appetiser along with some Podi Idlis.
The main ingredients in this are all Indian pantry staples and include tomatoes and toor dal. Please check out the printable recipe card for detailed ingredients list and instructions.
Lemon Rasam without Tomato
Some people do not add tomatoes to this Rasam. If you are not a fan of tomatoes, skip them and make this Rasam with just the dal water and other ingredients. Make sure to add some roughly chopped garlic in the tempering and use 1 tbsp more lemon juice if you are making this no tomato version.
Ginger Lemon Rasam Benefits
- This is a great digestive aid. This rasam should be your go-to recipe on days when you are bloated or have an upset tummy.
- Since this has lemon, ginger and lemon, I enjoy it when I m nursing a cold.
- Add some lemon grass and mint to your Rasam to add more flavors and depth. Lemon grass enhances the lemon flavors and mint brings a refreshing taste.
- Use Moong dal instead of Toor dal. When we make lemon rasam with moong dal, it tastes similar to the Andhra style lemon dal. In this version, you can skip the tomatoes completely.
How to serve lemon Rasam?
Serve this tangy broth warm with steamed rice. Or feature this as one of your party appetisers and serve with some crispy Heerekai Bajjis.
To make this more interesting, use it along with Pani Puris and make it lemon rasam shots. When you plan to serve a full South Indian style lunch platter, include this lemony rasam in the menu.
Lemon Rasam is great on a cold wintery night or on a hot summer day. To make it a nourishing meal, pair this with a spicy potato fry or a simple Beet thoran
Cooking toor dal
Pressure cook the toor dal along with 2 cups water and a large pinch turmeric powder( 1/2 tsp roughly) until mushy. Once done, drain the water completely and preserve. Mash the dal well.
To the reserved water, add the green chili, turmeric powder, hing, grated ginger, tomato and salt. Allow this to simmer on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mashed dal and mix well.
After adding the dal, let the mixture simmer until frothy at the surface. When done, allow the Rasam to cool down a bit.
Once cool, heat ghee in a pan and pop the mustard. Add the cumin seeds and crushed black pepper now and wait for it to crackle. As soon as the spices crackle, our tempering is ready. Add the tempering to the prepared rasam.
Finally, squeeze lemon juice into the rasam and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.
- If you add the lemon juice before the rasam cools down, it will turn bitter.
- You can skip the ghee and temper with oil for a vegan version.
- If you dont like the after taste of pepper, you can skip that too and let the green chili flavor shine through.
- Never reheat this rasam. It will become bitter since we add lemon juice.
More Rasam Varieties
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2 tbsp Toor dal
- 3/4 c water
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3 Green chilies slit lengthwise
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Tomato
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1.25 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 tsp ghee or oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Coriander leaves
Cooking toor dal
- Pressure cook the toor dal along with 1 green chili, 2 cups of water and turmeric until mushy.
- Once done, drain the water completely and preserve.
- Mash the dal well.
- To the reserved water, add the green chili, turmeric powder, hing, grated ginger, tomato and salt.
- Allow this to simmer on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the mashed dal and mix well.
- After adding the dal, let the mixture simmer until frothy at the surface.
- When done, allow the Rasam to cool down a bit.
- Once cool, heat ghee in a pan and pop the mustard.
- Add the cumin seeds and crushed black pepper now and wait for it to crackle.
- As soon as the spices crackle, our tempering is ready.
- Add the tempering to the prepared rasam.
- Finally, squeeze the juice of the lemons into the rasam and mix well.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.
You can skip the ghee and temper with oil for a vegan version.
If you dont like the after taste of pepper, you can skip that too and let the green chili flavor shine through.
Never reheat this rasam. It will become bitter since we add lemon juice.
For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes
Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.
Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.
More South Indian Recipes
If you love Rasam, check out our Rasam powder recipe that also has a detailed video. For more South Indian lunch menu recipes, explore these-