Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Basil and Balsamic Vinegar Rasam

This is an easy and quick rasam with Indian and Italian flavors! This is vegan and is best served hot with steaming bowl of rice or any grain and  paired with cooked veggies! This will be the ultimate bowl of comfort and can be made in under 30 minutes. This can be had as a soup too!

Rasam is a comfort food! There are numerous recipes and variations, and yet all of them very tasty! This recipe used Italian basil and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar has a flavor depth and is just not only for dressings, great for rasam too. Traditional rasam recipes start with tamarind base mostly. This rasam uses the Italian basil and Italian balsamic vinegar and with tomatoes and a hint of lemon replaces the tamarind of traditional rasam. Lemon, cranberries, apples can also be used instead of tamarind like in Lemon Rasam, Cranberry Rasam, Apple Rasam, respectively.

Basil gives very nice aroma and flavor to the rasam. Both fresh and dried basil are used in this recipe. If you can't find fresh ones, dried one works too. Remember to add lesser quantity of dried basil, as the dried ones are more compacted in flavor. To add to the final touch, basil is also added for garnish replacing the cilantro in traditional rasam. So much of basil and SO good!

There is no rasam without tempering. The spices and particularly asafetida adds tons of flavor. This recipe has the tempering ingredients for rasam but without ghee. Tempering in ghee adds to the flavor and aroma. It is done traditionally with ghee. But in this recipe, I chose to use olive oil as it plays excelllent with basil and Italian flavors. This makes this rasam vegan. Feel free to use ghee if you prefer. 

Cooked toor dhal is mostly used in rasams and add to protein. Some rasam recipes use soaked or roasted toor dhal that is ground with spices. In this rasam, lentils are roasted with cumin and pepper and that is the rasam spice powder used. No cooking of toor dal and hence a lot of time saved. This is just amazing!

The tomatoes are blanched, peeled, mashed and used in the recipe. Italian pasta sauce is made in that way. Peeling the tomatoes is comming in many Indian homes while making rasam. Simmering tomatoes as such works too.  Therefore, feel free to use the way you want. 

Rasam should always be served hot with steaming grain. This rasam rice pairs well with this Avarakai Curry, Asparagus and Coconut Stir-Fry, or Kale Stir-Fry. These Spice Mix Stuffed Eggplants/Podi Adaicha Kathrikai also pair amazing or just serve with simple beans, potato, carrot, or eggplant dry curry.

This rasam is amazing to have as a soup. The broth with all the flavors of lentils, basil, pepper, and cumin is lip smacking and comforting. Serve with a piece of crusty old bread.

I am sharing Rasam recipes from A-Z for Blogging Marathon. This tasty Apple Rasam being the first in the series followed by this Basil and Balsamic Vinegar Rasam. Check the blog for amazing rasam recipes shared throughout this year.

I am also linking this to Sundays on Silverado, Wonderful Wednesday, and Happiness is Homemade, and Souper Sundays by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen. Check the links if interested to participate in these events.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min

Tomatoes - 2, meidum sized
Water - 3 cups
Salt - 3/4 to 1 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Garlic - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Dried basil - 1 tsp
Fresh basil - 6 to 10 leaves
Balsamic vinegar - 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp

To Dry Roast

Lentils - 1 tbsp
Whole black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp

To Temper

Olive oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 1/2 tsp, minced
Asafetida - 1/8 tsp


Bring three cups of water to boil. Add the tomatoes and blanch. Peel and mash the tomatoes in the same water.

In the meantime, heat a pan on medium heat and dry roast the lentils for 2-3 minutes until till begings to turn golden. Add the cumin and black pepper and roast for another minute. Transfer to spice grinder and make a coarse powder.

Add half of the basil leaves and give a couple of blitzes. Set the spice mix aside.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add the finely chopped garlic and fry till light golden in color.

Add the fried garlic, dried basil, ground spice mix, salt, and turmeric to the tomato-water mixture. Bring it to a simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar, stir. Switch off the flame. Add the lemon juice, stir.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the red chiles and mustrad seeds, followed by garlic, cumin, and asafetida and fry for 30 seconds. Add it to the rasam.

Garnish with finely sliced basil leaves.

Serve hot with a steaming bowl of rice or any grain or any bread.


  1. This rasam sounds so exotic. You didn't mention balsamic vinegar in your ingredient list. How much should we add to the rasam. I want to try it right away.

    1. Thanks, Sandhya! I added the quantity of balsamic vinegar. Thanks for pointing it. You'll love the flavors!

  2. We add toordal to our rasam powders but I end up still adding cooked toor dal to rasam recipe. Bails must have added loads of flavor to this rasam.

  3. Wow rasam with basil and balsamic, man you definitely think out of the box. This sounds delicious and can't wait to try.

  4. That is another interesting rasam with basil balsamic vinegar. I also love to use different herbs in rasam. Looks too delicious.

    1. Thanks, Narmadha! Herbs add amazing zing to rasam!

  5. Wow! An unimaginable combination of basil and balsamic vinegar! Definitely out of the box recipe.