Lentil and Cranberry soup (Cranberry Rasam)

DSC_0414Rasam is a restorative and rejuvenating lentil soup with lots of black pepper, garlic and fresh cilantro.  It is generally eaten with some good old white rice. I have posted the recipe of Tomato rasam here before. Why cranberries in a rasam, you may ask? Well, necessity is the mother of invention and of improvisation:) Of late I have been trying to avoid tomatoes in my diet since they have been known to increase inflammation in the body and many ‘arthritis friendly’ dietis recommend eliminating tomatoes.  Recently I have also been on a gluten-free and dairy free diet as well. For me, that wasn’t as tough as having to eliminate tomatoes. All my south Indian ‘go to’ curries … Dal, sambhaar and rasam…need tomatoes! Without tomatoes, they didn’t taste half as good. 🙁

Then this evening while deciding what to cook and with a sudden craving for simple ‘rasam’, I noticed the cranberries inside the fridge. I had got a huge pack of fresh cranberries last week since they were supposed to be super beneficial for me and was planning to add them to my smoothies. So had a brain wave. Why not add cranberries to the rasam to get the tartness it needs? Couldn’t wait to try it! And the result – tasty rasam which tasted so much like normal rasam that husband dear could not even guess that something was different! That’s what I call a perfect substitute and this one has added medicinal benefits too! Cranberries provide us with an astonishing array of phytonutrients. Many of these phytonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits. Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, and pantothenic acid. You can read more about all the goodness of cranberries here.

The rasam also has garlic and turmeric additionally which are also beneficial for the arthritis patient. Turmeric helps reduce inflammation and also is an effective pain reliever. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties. Normally I add tamarind to the rasam but the cranberries provided enough sourness so that eliminated the need for tamarind.

I hope you like this cranberry rasam! Maybe you can make this for your thanksgiving dinner! 🙂 I am bringing this cranberry lentil soup to Fiesta friday and to Foodie Fridays this week.


Lentil and Cranberry soup (Cranberry Rasam)

  • Servings: Makes about 4 servings
  • Time: About 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1/4 cup yellow lentils (Toor dal)
  • 4 cups water
  • about 18-20 cranberries (reserve 5-6)
  • 1/2 of a medium size onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped fine
  • 1 tsp cumin powder(preferably freshly roasted)
  • 1 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut oil(melted) or olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi (fenugreek) seeds
  • 1 dry red chili , cut into two pieces 3-4 fresh curry leaves


Take lentils in a medium size pot or a pressure cooker if you have one and wash the lentils thoroughly 3-4 times until the water starts running clear.  Add the 4 cups water and also add the onion, cranberries, garlic, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.  Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes (cook for 3 whistles if using pressure cooker). Check to see if the lentils are fully cooked. if not add more water and continue cooking until lentils are very well cooked and almost mashed. Check consistency at this point – add more water if needed so that you get a watery soup like consistency.

Continue cooking on low heat and add the cumin powder and black pepper powder and after 1 minute turn the heat off and add the fresh cilantro leaves. Keep this aside.

Heat a small pan (tadka pan) and add the oil. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, lower the heat to low and add the cumin seeds and the methi seeds.  Wait for about 1 minute until the methi seeds turn dark brown. Turn the heat off and add the dry red chillies and the curry leaves.

Pour the above tadka (oil mixture) on to the lentils mixture. Add the reserved cranberries. Cover with a lid for about 2-3 minutes so that the cumin and methi seeds turn soft.

Serve rasam hot with some white rice.


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0 thoughts on “Lentil and Cranberry soup (Cranberry Rasam)

  1. A very creative way of using cranberries and I am glad you liked it! I didn’t know that tomatoes have been known to increase inflammation in the body. Thank you for bringing this inventive soup to Fiesta Friday! 🙂

    • thanks Petra. Yes tomatoes as such have many healthful benefits but for some folks with auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, tomatoes seem to be one of the culprits. I am right now testing that theory since I do want to be able to control my disease through a combination of naturopathy,exercise and medicines. thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. This looks like a pretty good seasonal soup, although like all the other readers, I’ve never really had cranberries in a soup. It does look warm and comforting though.

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