Rasam is a South Indian dish served commonly with white rice. The term “rasam” literally means soup or juice in Tamil, while in Sanskrit it means “the essential products of digestion”. An authentic rasam would have a sour base prepared using tamarind. It may include lentils and vegetables. Often wise home cooks use the excess water from cooked dal. Cooked dal is used for dal or sambar. Flavorful, nutritious The spices of rasam blend in smoothly to create a flavorsome and aromatic spicy soup. This light savory papaya rasam fits appropriately as a low carb meal with brown rice or quinoa.
The fabulous thing about rasam is that it can be prepared according to ones taste preferences and ingredient availability. There are a wide variety of luscious rasam recipes made with diverse vegetables (onions, ginger, garlic, beetroot, carrots); fruits (pineapple, gooseberry); flowers (drumstick flower, neem flower) and also with non-vegetarian ingredients like chicken. I have chosen the raw green papaya as the core ingredient for my recipe owing to its distinguished health-beneficent properties.
The young green papayas have two strong enzymes called papain & chymopapain which aid in losing weight. They are excellent for diabetes and constipation as well. Among various Indian keto recipes, the raw papaya rasam is truly rewarding.
How to make Indian food low carb or keto?
Traditionally, rasam is served with rice. Instead, consuming rasam by itself without rice makes Papaya rasam low carb or keto. Eating with quinoa or millets will add little carbs, still, that is the next option. You have to make a few modifications to the recipe to consume without rice. Rasam is made a bit sour and spicy to be able to consume with rice. To eat by itself, you have to cut salt, sourness, and spice to suit you. It may take couple of attempts to get the right taste. Try and you will make it possible.
It can be quite disheartening to follow a low carb Indian diet religiously with no visible results. So, where are you going wrong? Three key factors can be responsible:-
- Wrong portioning: When following a keto diet it is essential that you get the portioning right along with eating at the right time.
- Using packaged/canned ingredients: The habit of using processed, packaged/canned or frozen products in recipes is actually pretty unhealthy. Fresh ingredients provide our body with the appropriate vitamins and minerals. For instance, when raw papaya is canned/frozen it loses its powerful enzymes thereby won’t aid in weight loss. Besides, many folks tend to use packaged rasam powder which uses preservatives and unnatural colors. Ultimately, results are damaging than beneficial.
- Eating in restaurants most often: The appealingly colorful & fragrant rasam served at the restaurant are achieved using diverse unnatural ingredients, high-calorie ingredients, packaged spices, processed sugar, and high quantity salt. Preparing rasam at home using fresh raw papaya, ripe tomatoes, and home-made rasam powder gives the dish naturally attractive colors, delicious taste, and beautiful natural aroma. Finally, the taste/aroma achieved at restaurants is below average compared to home-cooked rasam
Once you cook your own bowl of papaya rasam with fresh ingredients you will be able to clearly distinguish the flavors, textures and see visible results. This keto Indian food definitely works!
Rasam’s Healing Powers
People belonging to the South Indian states believe that rasam holds medicinal properties to cure a cough, cold, fever and flu.
Papaya rasam is one of the best light Indian dinner recipes. It’s inviting orange color, delicate spicy flavors, and lovely fragrance blend together into a wonderful soup. Its tangy spiced flavors soothe the palate while healing and nourishing the body. Serve yourself a bowl of rasam with some brown rice before unwinding for the day.
- 2 cups - diced unripe green papaya
- 1 medium onion
- 4-5 red or green chilies - optional
- 1½" round tamarind
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp andhra black mustard seeds
- 5-8 curry leaves
- ¼th tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp - ground coriander powder
- ¼th - ½ tsp methi (fenugreek) powder
- 1 tsp - chili powder
- Pink Himalayan or sea salt
- Soak tamarind in water.
- Dice papaya into ½ inch squares
- Heat oil in a pot.
- Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cumin seeds. Then chilies if using.
- Now add onion, papaya. Fry for 2 mins. Stir. Add curry leaves and turmeric powder. Stir Well.
- Squeeze tamarind a few times. Squeeze well and discard pulp.
- Add tamarind juice and water to the pot.
- Simmer. Cook for 8-10 mins.
- Add salt, chili powder if using and coriander powder.
- Cook for another 5 mins or till papaya pieces are cooked.
- Add methi powder. Stir well and turn off the stove.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.