Growing up in Tamil Nadu, one of the dishes I regularly ate was Rasam Rice. When I was sick with a fever or a cold, along with medicines my mother made me eat Rasam. This miracle hot broth, with its tangy flavour and spicy punches, always cleared a blocked nose and relieved a sore throat.
Popularly known as ‘Charu’ in Telugu and ‘Saaru’ in Kannada, the word ‘Rasam’ translates to ‘essence for digestion’ in Sanskrit, owing to its property to keep constipation at bay.
The dish is said to have originated in the 16th century in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. One theory is that it was introduced by the Sourashtrians who ruled the kingdom. Since then it has been a staple curry served along with rice in almost every South Indian household.
Among the scientific community, the traditional dish is termed as “functional”, owing to its medicinal properties that can ward off diseases. Apart from being well acclaimed for its various health benefits, did you know that Rasam helps you lose weight?
Natural Remedy for Weight Loss
Rasam is prepared using a base of tamarind pulp juice, tomatoes, pepper, herbs, and a strong blend of spices. This includes garlic, cumin, asafoetida, turmeric, salt and mustard.
The main ingredients not only add layers of flavour to the dish but also nourishment. Studies explain how turmeric and garlic provide antimicrobial properties. The tamarind pulp juice is an ideal source of amino acids and other essential acids, including lactic acid, ascorbic acid, among others. This offers digestive, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.
Black pepper in the Rasam provides antioxidants, gastroprotective and anti-cancer benefits. This ingredient contains an organic compound named piperine, which is considered a natural weight suppressing agent. It also improves insulin flow in the body, which helps with obesity.
In 2017, a study was done on obese rats to understand the effects of pepper and piperine compounds on metabolism. The rats were supplemented with piperine in different doses over six weeks. The results showed that piperine acted as an effective biomolecule to lower cholesterol, improve insulin and gut health.
Since Rasam is packed with antioxidants, it promotes the removal of toxins by making the body sweat and produces more urine. This is known to speed up weight loss and is great for those on a diet.
If you’re wondering how to make Rasam, here’s a video with the recipe.
Edited by Yoshita Rao