04 April, 2007

Coconut Milk Saaru/Rasam

I come from a coastal town which is abundant with coconut palms swinging to the cool breeze from Arabian Sea. I have grown eating almost everything cooked using coconut in its different forms like coconut milk, ground coconut, grated or desiccated, dry coconut, coconut milk, tender coconut, coconut malai, coconut water and ultimately cooked in coconut oil. Ah!!! Coconut oil always reminds me of the litres of coconut oil applied to my head with vengeance by my mother and her mother. The weekend session of oil massage is something which I never appreciated as a kid. But now, the way westerners paying thousands of dollars in the name of aroma therapy made me realise what was head ache session in childhood is one of the luxuries of the century. I guess that’s the problem with most of us. We start to appreciate things when it has some designer label attached to it.
Coconut is something I have in my pantry 24X7 through out the year. Canned, cream, desiccated, fresh or frozen, you will surely find at least in one of its Avtars in our kitchen. Today I am gonna share one of my favourite recipe of coconut which has been passed from my Amma who learnt it from her MIL. It is Coconut Milk Saaru/Rasam, which always makes me feel royal. Its creamy texture and rich flavour is something which I can never get tired of. But the best thing for me is I can make it in jiffy. You need very few ingredients and very little time to make this. First let me give you the detailed recipe of making traditional Coconut Milk Saaru and then I will also give my shortcut recipe using just 3 ingredients to make this delicious Saaru.

Coconut Milk Saaru

Coconut Milk Saaru
Prep Time: 15-20 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves: 3-4
¾ tin Coconut Milk/ 1½ cups Freshly squeezed Coconut Milk
½ cup Masoor Dal/Toor Dal
1 marble sized Tamarind
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
4-6 Dry Red Chilli
1-2 tbsp Jaggary
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
For Seasoning:
1 tsp Ghee/Oil
1 tsp Mustard
1 Dry Red Chilli
Few Curry Leaves

Coconut Milk Saaru

Cook Masoor Dal with 1½ cups of water with a pinch of turmeric powder and drop of oil which helps to cook it quick.
Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and broken red chillies and sauté it for 1-2 minutes in medium flame.
Grind this mixture into a powder form without adding any water.
In a thick bottomed pan add cooked toor dal with its water, ground mixture, tamarind water, jaggary and salt to taste.
Add ½ cup of water and bring this to boil.
Now add coconut milk to this and mix well.
Cook this for further 4-5 minutes in medium flame till it starts to bubble.
In the end add chopped coriander leaves and season it with mustard, curry leaves and dry chilli.
Serve piping hot with rice and papadams and relish.

Freshly sqeezed Coconut milk is the best while making this saaru. I didn't have fresh coconut so had to substitute it with canned ones. When using canned coconut milk I recommend you use the organic ones.

Coconut Milk Saaru

Now coming to my short cut way of making equally delicious Coconut Milk Saaru.

Coconut Milk Saaru
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 3-4
1 cup cooked Masoor/Toor Dal
1½ tbsp Rasam Powder
¾ tin Coconut Milk/1½ cups Freshly squeezed Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Jaggary
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste
For Seasoning:
1 tsp Ghee/Oil
1 tsp Mustard
1 Dry Red Chilli
Few Curry Leaves

Mix cooked dal with 1 cup of water, rasam powder, jaggary and salt to taste.
Bring this to boil in a medium flame.
Now add coconut milk and cook it in a medium flame till it starts bubbling.
Add chopped coriander leaves and season it before serving.

Coconut Milk Saaru

Did You Know?
The coconut most likely originated somewhere around New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, but long ago became distributed throughout the Pacific from Southeast Asia to Africa.
Coconut oil was the world's leading vegetable oil until soybean oil took over in the 1960s.
There are more than 20 billion coconuts produced each year.
Coconut juice or coconut water is the liquid inside a coconut. Coconut milk is produced by steeping grated coconut in hot water then straining; coconut cream is coconut milk cooked down until it thickens, or grated coconut steeped in hot milk instead of water.
One cup of unsweetened shredded coconut has about 25 grams fat and 280 calories.
(Source: www.foodreference.com)


  1. Again first to comment!!

    I agree with everything you wrote about cocnuts.My grand father has coconut farm and Oil bath "Enne snana" is the highlight of weekends!;D
    All that gleaming skin and all that sun bathing and rubbing and patting the head with streaming oil , will put you to sleep right there on the back Angala,you know what I mean.HeHe!But only as kids,once you grow up,it's men only!

    Kai saaru looks great,mouthwatering.It's little diff from my recipe.My grand mother makes one too.I don't make it often,but will post sometime when I do.Good night Sups.

  2. Sia Coconut Milk Rasam looks delicious and rich just like you suggested. This is a new recipe and would love to get a taste.

  3. got to visit your blog by chance, really glad that I did. you have a wonderful blog here, keep up the good work :)

  4. how come nane first ivattu?

    Saaru looks very nice.

    my all time favorite. i prefer saaru to sambhar yummy!

  5. Sia, coconut is a very big part of our cuisine here in the Caribbean too. Like you, coconut is in my pantry all year round for use in savoury and sweet dishes. My favourite thing to make is coconut drops, which I will do one day and post about. It is very simple and easy to make, I'm sure you'll like it.

    Can you explain to me a little more of the benefits you derive now from having your hair and head massaged with coconut oil? I remember my mom putting it in her hair and my cousins using it as well.

  6. Nice recipe!You take really good pics too. Just an observation..many of your pics have a yellow hue... is it the camera? or the light?or both?


  7. The Saaru looks beautiful! And I like short-cut version, my kind of recipe :) I'm just like you, I have all possible forms of coconut in my pantry and freezer too..

  8. What a beautiful post!!! I'm imagining the coconut trees by the sea coast...
    People not aware the most natural things when city got over-developed... About coconut nut oil on hair, a few friends of mine use olive oil (their country grows olive tree), they also have the most beautiful hair :D

  9. @ashakka,
    he he... can nver forget those days of enne snana:) my grandma used to make all of us sit in a row and used to apply warm oil to our body. i remember when dozing off many a times when amma used to give that head masaage:)
    will wait for ur recipe of kai saaru. i just love it and its much easier when i am too lazy to cook.

    if u like coconut then its a best thing to have with rice. its got very creamy texture with little sweet taste to it. do give it a try:)

    a warm welcome to spice corner and thank u for ur compliments:)

  10. @roopa,
    commnet swalpa nidhanakke moderate madiddu:)
    same here. i prefer saaru to sambar coz its easy to make;)

    i buy most of indian vegetables from caribbean store cynthia. i am amazed to so much of similarity in ingredients used in ur cuisine.
    now u have got my full attention. what are these coconut drops? oh! the name itself is so attracive:) i will surely try it if u post the recipe:)
    i have been using coconut hair oil since i was a kid and the benefits are endless. they r not only good for ur hair but also good for eyes. they r supossed to help ur hair grow strong and healthy. u get that natural shine which no conditioner can give. i dont use any conditioner coz of it:) if u r really interested uin knowing its benefits then will mail u in detail abt it:)

    i usually take my pics in the eve after coming back from office. i dont get natural light at that time so this yellowish tinge is mainly due to the artficial light from my kitchen top.

  11. @sig,
    after slogging in office for 8 hours and walking all the way to home i dont feel like cooking something which takes long time. this recipe is very quick to make as i cook and store dal in fridge for 3-4 days. so i just have to throw the dal, rasam powder and add coconut milk to it:)

    i totally agree with u. we appreciate things when we leave them behind.
    many of my friends use olive oil and also sesame oil on hair. it supossed to be good conditioner for ur hair.

  12. Hi Supriya, this sounds decadent! Thanks for sharing both versions. Hope you have a wonderful long weekend! :)

  13. Hey Supriya,
    Very beautiful writing. I loved this "We start to appreciate things when it has some designer label attached to it" -- so true

    Never had this kind of rasam (actually I have had only one kind :-)) -- looks delicious

  14. sia
    BTW forgot to mention enne snana bagge valle recap kotidiya. Ega bekundru sigolla:)

  15. @linda,
    i am still thinking about ur post on getting that secret ingredient for sambar;) he he he...

    thanks lady. guess u mommy's r busy with the new forum. i absolutely loved the idea sandeepa. good wishes to all mommys with naughty kids:)
    i bet for many people rasam means tomato rasam. there r as many versions as dals:)

    sariyagi helidri. ega aa bhagya elli?

  16. hi sia!!
    i love u'r recipe, so different and looks wonderful!!!
    have a nice time in lake district(don't forget u'r umbrella) but i guess sun is expected to shine over the easter weekend.

  17. hi, Sia!

    The Saaru looks so delicious, thanks very much for sharing more than one way to make it.

    I hadn't touched a drop of coconut milk (ok, maybe I exaggerate) before I got married to my Manglorean hubby and now, almost every meal we have has coconut in some form or another and I have grown to appreciate the coconut curries and veggies so much that sometimes I wonder how I spent 24 years of my life without it! :)

    Have a wonderful weekend and see you when you return!

  18. @paddukoti,
    it is quite common in mangalore, my native.
    i know. not gonna forget to carry umbrella. u must be knowing the famous saying here in UK. "3 W's u cant rely on are Wine, Weather and Women in UK" ;) i am still not convinced as why Women though:)

    i am thrilled to know ur hubby comes from my native. have u visited mangalore?
    good to know that u appreciate coconut now. its not everybody's favourite. i guess we the mangaloreans and keralites use coconut to the maximum extent.
    wishing u too a happy long weekend. have fun:)

  19. Sia...this must be a great dish...
    have a nice holiday in the Lake district...its such a lovely place, I can go back anytime.

  20. Sounds good! I like coming to your blog, the yellow and white pictures are inviting! :)

  21. I too remember those "oil massages"...weren't they just great?? My mom used "Parachute" oil!
    Coconut milk Rasam is a novelty....! the taste of that and toor dal together must be heavenly!

    Have a 'lovely' weekend you two!


  22. Sia,
    Me too had 2 jaDé folded and tied up with liters of coconut oil in my hair till 10th! :)) and had that long hot bath on Sundays.
    We had a coconut mill next door to my house and always got extreme fresh coconut oil just squeezed from the kobbari. I always keep boasting among my friends how aromatic the fresh coconut oil is..unlike parachute(though the best among the store brands)..which most of them think is fresh!

    Coming to the rasam, got to try this one soon.

  23. Hi sia
    that looks amazing!!i never heard of this dish.thanks for the recipe.

  24. This looks good and simple to make too! Lovely photos. I saw your comment about photos in your kitchen light, it's still pretty good. I have the same problem and my photos taken using artificial light look pretty bad! :-)

  25. This is very new to me. Does it taste sweet and creamy??

  26. Coconut milk rasam thats something new and interesting. A dish with coconut always taste better.

  27. i like the shortcut recipe. easy peasy and just my style.

  28. Thats an awesome recipe. Well, I don't want to talk more abt coconut, since I always keep talking abt it. I just want to say, I can't live without it :). I bought few cans of coconut milk thinking it will be useful. I am going to make this saru soon. Thanks a lot

  29. Hey Sia,

    thats a delish recipe :). am going to try it soon. This saaru is new to me and since its got coconut milk, which i am so in love with, its really going to made soon :).

    Hugs for this treat,

  30. Hi Sia,
    Your shortcut Rasam recipe sounds marvellous. should try it over next week. Hope you have nice time in Cumbria :)

  31. Hi Sia,
    I just made coconut milk saaru today ( using your short-cut method). I am afraid it didn't turn out all that good ...I used the ingredients in the proportions you have indicated but it tasted very much like bland dal only :-(
    I wonder where I went wrong.Any tips/ suggestions?


  32. Hi Supriya,
    Great design ..........no words for it.
    Coconut Milk Rasam looks delicious. I have learned more and more about rasam and sambhar. I will try it later.
    Beautiful picture taken by beautiful hands..............

    Take care.

  33. aaah!! good old oil massages.:) it was a waste for me because i always had short hair.

    this rasam is unique. never heard one with coconut. enjoy your holidays!!!

  34. Hi Sups,

    Coconut Milk Saaru thats soundsreally great and rich....

    As you said i'm going to try using coconut milk a portion in biriyani and tell you how it has come out...

    Happy weekend buddy...

  35. Lake District? You lucky bum! Do a post on it after you get back.

  36. Never knew that hcaaru can be made with coconut milk, thanks for the recipe.
    You are one of the ardent food bloggers I have seen..
    after Shilpa of Aayisrecipes you are the only one(atleast from what I have seen) who makes sure to post yummy recipes on a regular basis.

  37. Lovely color! This rasam recipe is new to me.Will try this recipe.

  38. A different recipe with your touch as usual. Nice post. Viji

  39. Loved your Recipe, a unique way to go about savouring my all time fav Rasam.I am a Rasam gal,Rasam any day is "The most comforting food" I can ever think of.
    Happy Easter!:)

  40. Hi Supriya,
    sucha lovely post. you always reminds me alot of my childhood days, and i love it. ! in my schooldays here , mom used to oil my hairs each week ends.and that was a blessing indirectly , though at that time i never realized its value. now its time to rush to mom agian for that massage :) , as i m at mom's plce now :)
    Rasam ! with coconut! and that too can be made quickly, girl you are great , thanks for sharing ,one more recipe in my to do list. :D.
    thanks dear, have a nice weekend together.

  41. thank you so much for ur compliments. i am just back from short holiday with loads of pictures and tired feet:)

    changed plans in last moment and went to chester, cheshire etc:)

    he he he...white n yellow pics.

    we used fresh coconut oil from our coconut garden trupti. will parcel u some if u want sweetie:)

  42. @manjula,
    ha ha ha...2 folded jades, a must at st.victor's;) i sure know what u meant by aromatic fresh cocnut oil from mill:) i got one big bottle of coconut oil from india exclusively for head massage:)

    thank u sweetie:)

    now u know why my pics look yellowish;)

  43. @shivpriya,
    it tastes little spicy and little sweet with rich creamy texture.

    u bet:)

    easy peasy..yup thats my kind of recipe on weekdays:)

  44. @shilpa,
    life w/o coconut is kind of unimaginable in mangalorean cuisine:) do let me know how u like it:)

    ha ha ha....so u r in love with upma and now with coconut han?;)

    a warm welcome to spice corner:) hope u too having gr8 weekend:)

  45. @KT,
    i am really sorry to know that. i am still wondering as what must have went wrong as i make this regularly using same ingredients. i use homemade rasam powder which is just few weeks old. but it still shouldn't make much difference as most of the rasam powders have same kind of ingredients.
    try using fresh rasam powder and use thick coconut milk(i use "tropical sun" or "blue dragon organic coconut milk" brand canned coconut milk). adjust the ingredients as per ur taste. i can't think of any other suggestions other than u r always welcomed to my home to taste coconut saaru:)

    u r a sweet person dear:)
    kajal do let me know how u like it:)

    short hair or long hair, we all need hair massage for healthy hair;)

  46. @usha,
    oh yeas dear:) do let me know if u liked it that way:)

    guess what? we ended up going to chester, cheshire and lots n loads of shopping in u know where;) will post the pics soon:)

    my my!!! i am blushing here:) thank u for ur kind words. i started this blog as backup for recipes i learnt from my mom n MIL as i easily forget the ingredients:) its been just more than a yr since i started cooking and there is so much to learn from all u wonderful guys. so its not a big deal abt me posting the recipes regularly. thanks to u all bloggers who motivate me everyday:)

  47. @pravs, viji
    thank u dears:)

    happy easter to u dear:) will look forward to ur easter recipes:)

    u lucky girl. i miss my soooooooooo much:) enjoy while u can. have loads of fun sweetie:)

  48. Hi Sia,
    Hope you had a great trip! Happy Easter!
    You are such a sweetheart to try & help me out :-). I wish I lived near you so I could just drop by and sample the yummy fare that you so consistently dish out.
    Your blog is one of my favorites & I always come here at least once a day. Keep up the good work!


  49. Hi Supriya,
    This rasam is totally new to me. I add one tsp of thick coconut extract before switching off the ordinary rasam. Thanks. Great Pictures.

  50. @MK,
    thanks MK for ur kind words. we did have gr8 time n now back at home relaxing:) happy easter to u n ur family:)

    thats a good tip of adding a spoon of thick coconut extract for ordinary rasam. will do that from now onwards n i am sure it will add more body to the ordinary rasam:)

  51. Yup Sia, i am an Upma FAN :) i need to have it atleast 1-2 every week!

  52. sia, this is a very unusual rasam. thanks for the recipe.

  53. Coconut milk rasam is new to me Supriya. I make a few varieties of rasam but this is the first time Iam coming across coconut milk rasam.My MIL makes many dishes with coocnut milk and my mom makes a lot of dishes with fresh coconut .
    This recipe sounds interesting and will try this sometime soon.
    Love the coconot oil weekend baths..

  54. tell me dear, how much "quicker" does that drop of oil make the toor dal cook? I groaned when I saw that your recipe had toor dal because it sounds good but I don't have a pressure cooker (and don't feel like buying one) but my heart leapt when I saw the tip about the drop of oil! :)

  55. that Saaru looks so delicious and rich!! never have heard of it.
    again an innovative one for me!!


  56. Hi Sups,
    I am back!Missed you all :)I am still on a holiday, but have access to net:)
    Lovely recipe for rasam. New recipe for me and will surely try it:)

  57. @musical,
    then u r like my hubby. he can eat upma 3 times a day:)

    thanks bee:)

    in m'lore cuisine, coconut is a 'must' ingredients. we use coconut in many recipes prema.

    it takes about 15-20 minutes to cook 3/4 th cup of dal for me n sometimes little longer. pressure cooker is best for cooking dal as it requires much less time(around 10 minutes). i got this tip from almost everyone to add little turmeric n drop of oil while cooking dal. my MIL says adding drop of oil helps to stop overflow of dal water while cooking.
    try cooking dal in large quantity n store it in fridge for a week shilpa. as i cook rasam or dal very often i tend to do this.

    thanks sweetie:)

    welcome back. we surely missed u. i was abt to give police complaint;) but then i realised i dont even know hw u look, forget abt pic;)

  58. I have learnt how much South Indians use coconut in cooking since I started blogging. This Saaru looks lovely, thanks for sharing.

  59. Oh I look human hee...hee he,female :)short height, fair ,black hair .I think this much description is enough if I vanish again :))))))
    Imagine Sups Interpol running after me haa...haa..ha Exciting.
    My name would have hit the headlines of Delhi papers. Instant fame :)Wow!!!!

  60. @mallika,
    especially keralites and kannadigas use maximum amt of coconut in cooking:) u name the dish n we put coconut in them;)

    oh!!! glad to know that u look like a human;) he he he.... instant fame? ha ha ha...u bet:)

  61. Your introduction reminded me my childhood days. I used to hate to apply the oil to my hair, though I was not given any other option.
    This recipe is new to me.It sure sounds delicious. Must cook this for my coconut hating husband. :-)

  62. Hi Sia’s,
    Good recipe of rasam. I love different type of rasam but I never try with coconut milk.
    How to prepared rasam powder?

  63. @suma,
    how i wish i could turn back time and get those oil massages:)
    ur hubby hates coconut? ha ha ha ha... try this and i am sure he cant differenciate the ingredients;)

    kajal...u have wonderful rasam recipe in ur blog. try using same rasam powder u have or else use the ingredients i have posted here.

  64. Hi Sia,

    Am blogging your Rasam as a model recipe in the 1001 Rasam cookbook at http://ramkicooks.blogspot.com.
    Thanks for the recipe.


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