Homemade rasam powder with fresh aromatic spices is so flavorful and helps create rasam instantly!
Ingredients in rasam powder
Everyone has their special rasam powder and I think it is good to craft a rasam powder that is catered to you and your family's taste. My recipe is here to provide you a solid starting point for your own rasam powder.
It is equally important to understand the different spices that go into rasam powder so that you have the knowledge to create a spice blend of your own.
- Black Peppercorn (Milagu in Tamil) - Adds a peppery spice that is earthy
- Dried Whole Red Chilis (Milagai in Tamil) - Provides a fiery spice that is perfect for spice lovers
- Cumin Seeds (Seeragam in Tamil or Jeera in Hindi) - A warming and rich spice
- Coriander Seeds (Dhaniya in Tamil) - Earthy and faintly herbal spice
- Curry Leaves (Karuveppilai in Tamil) - A very herbal and flavor packed spice
- Toor Dal - A lentil when used in rasam powder gives a robust nutty flavor
- Asafetida or Hing - Pungent powder that has an onion-like flavor profile. It gives your rasam that extra umff. A little of this powder goes a long way
So now that you know what each spice brings to the table, you can customize your own powder. If you like a pepper-y rasam add more black peppercorn; if you like something with a deep nutty flavor add more toor dal; if a more herbaceous rasam is what you seek then add more curry leaves.
Personally, I love a good rasam powder that is versatile, so I have created one that is a balance of all these spices. But when I am in the mood for a particularly pepper-y rasam, it's as simple as using my base rasam powder and adding a bit more pepper. The key to making rasam instantly is making a large quantity of this rasam powder so that the next time you make rasam, it takes just a few mintues.
Rasam powder vs. sambar powder
People often ask the difference between rasam powder and sambar powder. The key difference between rasam powder and sambar powder is that sambar powder mainly uses red chilis for a deeper fiery heat whereas rasam powders use a higher proportion of black peppercorn to get a pepper-y heat. In addition, sambar powder tends to have other ingredients like fenugreek (methi) seeds to add bitterness and earthiness, and rice to help thicken the the sambar.
Fresh rasam powder is the best
Homemade rasam powder to me is superior to store-bought rasam powder. The reason is that as soon as you grind your whole spices, the flavor and potency starts to diminish. The ground spices are more exposed to elements like heat and air which erode the quality of your spices.
Store-bought rasam powder is usually made months or even years before you end up buying it from the supermarket and thus the spice blend can taste more dull compared to a vibrant homemade rasam powder.
It is much better to make double or triple the amount of homemade rasam powder and store it for a few months in your cabinet; it will be much more potent than ones that you can get in the store and you can use it to create rasam instantly.
Don't have time to make rasam powder? Here is what to do!
However, sometimes you are short on time, and to top it all off, you have also run out of your homemade rasam powder. Don't worry, I've been there too. I have two tactics when this happens.
My first tactic is to make rasam without rasam powder. Instead, I quickly crush black peppercorn (milagu) and cumin (jeera in Hindi) and make my recipe for my jeera milagu rasam which highlights these two spices and does not require rasam powder.
My second tactic is to go to my backup of store-bought rasam powder when I am in fact looking for a rasam that has many spices. My go-to brand of rasam powder when I need rasam instantly is MTR Madras Rasam Powder. The Madras variety has a bit more of a kick compared to the other varieties that MTR carries, so it is the brand that my taste buds gravitate to for a peppery and spicy rasam.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes absolutely! In fact, I often do so that I can have homemade rasam powder on hand so that the next time I make rasam I can make it quickly.
Yes it does. Dry roasting the spices releases the essential oils in the spices and makes their flavors more pronounced, so please don't skip this step when making any spice blend.
It is best to store rasam powder in an airtight container in a dark space (like a kitchen cabinet) away from heat. All of these measures help keep the rasam powder fresh.
You can keep rasam powder indefinitely and it won't go bad. However, once you make rasam powder it is most potent in the first year after grinding the spices.