Rasam, charu pani, chaaru, saaru or kabir, is a South Indian spicy soup-like dish and is prepared using kokum or tamarind juice as a base, with the addition of other spices as seasonings.
A healthy appetiser, rasam can either be eaten along with rice or can be drunk. Rasam is made up of several ingredients and herbs which are rich in medicinal value and also contain abundant nutrients making it a super food.
Nutritional Value of Rasam
Rasam contains vitamins like thiamine, vitamin C and folic acid, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, etc. One serving of rasam contains 5% fibre; 4% proteins and calcium; 3% carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium; 2% fat and 0% cholesterol.
Possible health benefits of Rasam…
1/9. Enhances Digestion
1. The black pepper in rasam encourages the secretion of digestive juices thus, promoting digestion and preventing acidity, indigestion, diarrhoea, gas, and flatulence.
2. The antimicrobial activity of rasam makes it a good defence against the bacteria which attack the digestive system, such as E. coli, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus.
2/9. Prevents Constipation
Tamarind content of rasam is rich in dietary fibre which adds bulk to the food thus, easing bowel movement and preventing constipation.
3/9. Aids in Weight Loss
1. The black pepper content of rasam aids in losing weight. It eliminates toxins by making the body sweat and produces increased urine.
2. Black pepper hastens the metabolism, ensuring that the calories are burnt faster thus promoting weight loss.
3. The spices in rasam too, produce a detoxifying effect preventing water retention and elimination of toxins.
4. The fat production is slowed down by the tamarind content of rasam. Tamarind further hinders the enzyme that promotes the storage of fat. It suppresses appetite and also burns fat during exercises.
4/9. Ideal for pregnant women
1. Rasam been a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants; it is an ideal meal for pregnant women.
2. It is easy to digest and helps the intestine function adequately.
5/9. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
1. This tangy soup is rich with essential vitamins like folic acid, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin and niacin. Few of these vitamins also act as antioxidants which help in keeping the body healthy.
2. Rasam is further loaded with minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, selenium, copper and magnesium.
6/9. Helps Keeps Cancer Away
Black pepper in rasam contains piperine, a substance that is found to have an inhibitory effect on cancerous cells, similar to curcumin found in turmeric.
7/9. Keeps the Skin Healthy
1. The antioxidants present in tamarind protect the body against the attack of free radicals thus, protecting the skin from allergens keeping the skin supple, young, glowing and healthy.
2. The glow of the skin can be restored by the antioxidant property and vitamin C content of the tomato.
8/9. Hastens Recovery
1. Rasam been loaded with nutrients that make it a perfect food for the convalescing patients thereby, hastening recovery.
2. Rasam ensures that the person is nourished while the fluid nature of rasam assures that the patient stays hydrated.
3. Vitamin C content of tomato enhances the immunity of the patient.
9/9. Other possible health benefits…
Rasam has been used traditionally to introduce baby to solid food as it is easy to digest. It is served hot and is a protection against cold and flu. It removes toxins by increasing sweating and urination. It is anti-inflammatory which helps in reducing swelling. It prevents you from getting sick due to its anti-microbial properties.
Rasam – A watery soup made with tamarind, tomatoes and spices like mustard, cumin and pepper, has potent healing powers starting from digestion to skin health, to keeping cell mutation at bay.
How to prepare Rasam?
For 20-30 minutes, soak 1 lemon sized tamarind in ½ cup warm water. Then, squeeze the soaked tamarind to a pulp. Strain and keep it aside.
Ground 2 tsp whole black pepper, 3 tsp cumin seeds, and 6-7 roughly chopped garlic into a semi-fine consistency.
Heat 2 tbsp oil and temper with 2-3 dry red chilies, two pinches of asafoetida, and 10-12 curry leaves.
Add 1 medium-sized chopped tomato. Saute till the tomatoes soften.
Add the semi ground cumin seeds, black pepper and garlic, and ½ tsp turmeric powder.
Stir and add the strained tamarind pulp along with water and salt.
Let the rasam come to a gentle boil. Stir and serve the rasam hot.