When I spent a few days on a ‘spice island’ in Kerala one of the highlights was enjoying a massage every day. For the rest of the time I sipped G&T’s in hammocks strung between palm trees and walked among the groves of spices. And oh yes, enjoyed 3 beautifully prepared traditional Southern Indian meals per day!

After the massage I was offered Rasam soup.

On the first day I found this a rather peculiar offering after a massage. The massage therapist could barely speak English, but my host at the lodge explained that it had terrific health properties and that it ‘purified’ the blood. With all that delicious food and all the indulgent G&T’s that was an excellent idea!

After 3 days of the soup I cannot recall any great physiological benefits and soon after returning from India I forgot about it. This last week I once again came across the recipe and started reading about it. If you see the list of ingredients there is no doubt that it can have long term health benefits if you consumed it regularly.

I just love its refreshing lemony tang

Heath benefits aside, I just love its refreshing lemony tang and the fact that it obviously carries a negligible amount of calories. I made a huge pot of it to enjoy, guilt free and I assure you it will appear at a few dinners as an amazing starter.

It has claimed heath properties

The combination of tamarind, tomatoes and fresh lemon contributes to the fresh flavour, it’s lightness and ‘digestive properties’. Ginger, turmeric, spices and a subtle use of chilli contribute to the other claimed heath properties which I will not deviate to now. Feel free to read about it on Google.

Most of the recipes call for fresh tomatoes. I used fresh cherry tomatoes but instead of grating fresh, ripe tomatoes I opened a can of crushed tomatoes. By all means use fresh, if you have them.

Then, to make the soup more interesting, I created a few daily variations, which traditional recipes don’t give you. On separate occasions I added blanched green beans, broccoli florets, sliced mushrooms and baby spinach. Each time I enjoyed it.

In India it is often served over cooked rice, providing a more substantial meal.

The sweet-sour notes remind me of the Thai Tom Yum soup without the heat and I think that the addition of a few bits of seafood like prawns, mussels or cubed firm white fish will not go amiss!

With winter approaching and the need to have a warm soup, but not one that will ‘cling to your ribs’ I highly recommend this soup.

Recipe: Indian Rasan Soup