Pepper Rasam

Pepper Rasam

Pepper rasam is a traditional South Indian side dish with black peppercorns, cumin seeds, tomato, tamarind extract, spices, and curry leaves. It’s hot and tangy and tastes delicious with steamed rice but can be had as soup as well. It’s also believed to be a quick-relief medicine for a common cold.

The recipe for pepper rasam is simple, and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes with minimum ingredients. Also, it does not require any lentils(dal) like the traditional Karnataka-style tomato rasam.

First, make a paste of black peppercorns, cumin seeds, green chili, and garlic. Then temper mustard seeds, hing, and curry leaves, and cook this masala paste with tomatoes, tamarind extract, and water. Boil the mixture for a few minutes until all the flavors combine.

I got introduced to this pepper rasam at my in-laws and have loved it ever since – so comforting and flavorful, especially during colder temperatures! I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do.

Pepper Rasam

Pepper Rasam is a delicious soupy dish with black peppercorns, cumin seeds, tomato, tamarind, and herbs.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: No Dal Rasam, Pepper Rasam, Rasam
Servings: 3 people


  • 3 tbsp peanut oil any cooking oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies split
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • a pinch of hing
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp tamarind extract
  • salt to taste
  • 500 ml water
  • a handful of cilantro finely chopped


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 garlic cloves


  • Make a paste of cumin seeds, black peppercorns, garlic, and green chili either in a mixer or using a mortar & pestle.
  • Heat oil in a cooking pot.
    Add mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Then add dried red chilies, curry leaves, and hing.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder and let cook until tomatoes are soft.
    Add the cumin-pepper-green chili-garlic paste, stir, and cook for a minute.
  • Add the tamarind extract, followed by water. Stir and allow rasam to come to a boil on medium heat. Continue cooking for a couple more minutes and finish by adding chopped cilantro.
  • Serve hot and delicious pepper rasam with steamed rice. Enjoy!


Add a tbsp or two of jaggery if this is too spicy for you. 

Let me know if you tried this recipe by tagging a picture of your preparation on my Instagram @swaadista and using #swaadistarecipes.

Happy cooking, happy eating!

2 thoughts on “Pepper Rasam”

Leave a Reply