Lime Rasam noodles

By • February 4, 2013 14 Comments

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Author Notes: The word 'Rasam' in Tamil translates as 'essence'. Traditional Rasams are clear, spicec broths that are served as a second course along with rice in a traditional South Indian 4 course meal. (the First being the thick stew like Sambhar, the third being dessert (Yep, the dessert is served as the penultimate course between the savory rasam and the palate cleansing yogurt rice course), and the final course being Yogurt rice).
Rasams are either made using a pre-prepared spice blend (the most common method) with cooked dals added in, or the blend may be prepared fresh ( a slightly cloudier broth but all the more vibrant thanks to the fresh flavors).

Serves 3-4

Rasam broth paste

  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons split pigeon peas (Tuvar dal)
  • 1 dried arbol chile
  • 1/2 cup scalding hot water

Noodles & broth

  • 1 packet rice noodles (thickness as per your preference)
  • 4-5 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely slivered fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, torn
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 serrano chile, deseeded & cut into thin rings (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  1. soak the ingredients for the paste in scalding hot water for about 15 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste.
  2. Combine the paste with the water, turmeric, salt, ginger and curry leaves and bring to a boil until the coriander seeds lose their 'raw aroma' (~ 5 -10 minutes after it begins to bubble ). In the meantime prepare the rice noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and snip into manageable lengths using a pair of kitchen scissors and keep warm.
  3. Heat the clarified butter / ghee in a skillet and add the cumin seeds when the ghee is near smoking hot. Once the cumin seeds 'split' , immediately add this tempering to the broth.
  4. Divide the noodles into serving dishes. Pour the Hot broth over the noodles. Ideally the lime is added to the broth once it is done, but this also prevents the broth from being reheated, since the lime imparts a bitter note to the reheated broth. SO serve it alongside the noodles and let the guests add it individually as per their taste. You may choose to fish out the curry leaves prior to serving.
  5. Serve the noodles and broth along with the lime wedges, serrano chile rings, and the cilantro (I personally love the cilantro, but for those with the soapy tasting gene, the cilantro can be a bit over powering in this otherwise mild rasam broth.

More Great Recipes: Soups|Rice & Grains|Breakfast & Brunch|Curries|Soup

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Comments (14) Questions (0)


6 months ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This sounds utterly divine. The paste, the chiles, the lime, the noodles...... And thank you for yet another cultural lesson.


6 months ago Panfusine

Thanks Boulanger!


8 months ago Maria

Didn't work for me. May be I did something wrong, but I couldn't make a paste out of cumin and coriander seeds - the husks just stayed as they were. And because it is such small amount, I couldn't put it in a food processor as it'd just get smeared all over food processor's container walls.

Also the broth tasted strange - I think turmeric gives food very nice in small amounts when fired with or put in stews, but if you just taste the spice it is a very strong unpleasant taste. Per the recipe I was to add it into the broth along with other spices. When I tasted it - all I could taste was turmeric, not the nice flavor you get from flying with it, but the bitter string last if you just fast the spice directly. It tasted like hot water + few spices, mostly turmeric, not so much as a broth.

At that point I didn't continue, as I felt doubtful it'd work out. Again, may be I did something wrong, but that was my experience.


6 months ago Panfusine

Sorry it didn't work as it should have Maria, I usually use the smoothie or coffee grinding jar on my blender to obtain a smooth paste, And it may also have been the reason why the turmeric came across in its typical strong way. the gritty nature of the paste that was made in the processor, is definitely not enough to bring out the coriander & cumin flavors, and the grit is annoying.
The predominant flavors are the coriander & cumin and the lime counter balances it.


over 2 years ago fearlessem

Help! I'm making these tonight, and have made it through the first step... But where it says "grind into a smooth paste" -- I'm not sure how to do this. In half a cup of water, blending it for a long time I still have a very gritty slurry -- nothing smooth about it. What should I do?


over 2 years ago Panfusine

if its combined and the you don't see individual coriander, cumin or the dal, thats good enough, then go ahead and add it to the water to make it into a broth. You can always strain the gritty part out in the last step, after the broth is done.


over 2 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Can't wait to try this! Our snowstorm today may make it the perfect day!


over 2 years ago gingerroot

This sounds fantastic, panfusine!


over 2 years ago creamtea

As usual this looks and sounds delicious!


over 2 years ago Panfusine

thanks so much creamtea!


over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I love how I always learn something about Indian cuisine by reading your headnotes. This soup looks and sounds delicious.


over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks HLA


over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this!! The spices are fantastic and I love anything with lime. I think this would be even more effective than Jewish penicillin, aka chicken soup. Sounds delicious!


over 2 years ago Panfusine

Aww thanks!..