Paleo Pineapple Rasam

Rasam is a South Indian soup that is traditionally made with a base of tamarind, a fruit that is both sweet and sour.  There are many regional varieties, and pineapple is a more modern version.  I found the inspiration for this recipe in the Penzeys Spices catalog.  I started buying spices from Penzeys because there was a Paleo broccoli soup recipe in Chrissy Gower’s Paleo Slow Cooking: Gluten Free Recipes Made Simple that required a spice called Mural of Flavors from Penzeys.  Not only does the catalog have a bunch of fun spices, but they also include the stories and recipes of several families in each one.

I have mentioned that Taylor and I love Indian food.  I had never heard of rasam before, but I loved the idea of pineapple and spices.  I am so glad that a woman named Anu Murthy shared a delicious family recipe!  It took very little effort to make this recipe Paleo.  Instead of canned pineapple I used fresh, and using a method that I learned from my friend Julie Hayes, it was plenty juicy for this sweet and spicy soup.

Julie told me that if you buy a fresh pineapple, store it upside down for a day or two before cutting into it, and it will be incredibly juicy.  Being upside down, the juices get a chance to distribute evenly from the bottom to the top.  I wedged mine between the wall and my block of knives.  Wherever you find a place to keep it balanced, it is worth the effort!

The natural sweetness of fresh pineapple is complimented by the small amount of raw honey that I substituted for the brown sugar in the original recipe.  The spiciness of the soup can be varied according to your taste, but I kept the other spices the same.  I had everything on hand but the mustard seeds.  I would normally try to improvise, but with a dish that I’d never tried before, I wanted to keep the flavors authentic.  It was worth the effort.  I didn’t even have a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, and I managed just fine!

I toasted the seeds in a nonstick pan, then let them cool for a few minutes.  Then, I poured them in a ziplock bag, sealed it, placed it on a hard cutting board, and using the glass bottom of a spice can, I ground the seeds into a toasty powder.  You can use a blender or Vitamix to blend the ingredients together.  The only other step it to gently heat the soup up!  Pour it into a medium soup pot and let it simmer for a few minutes.

It is such a delightful juxtaposition of flavors, and so simple to create!  I have enjoyed it on its own as a snack, and also served it with my Indian-inspired Lamb Meatballs!  It would also pair nicely with my Paleo Indian-Style Chicken and Paleo Bombay Sweet Potatoes!


  • 1 fresh pinapple, cubed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbs organic butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • fresh or dried cliantro, as garnish


  • 1. Wash pineapple, cut off outer skin, cut fruit around core, and into cubes
  • 2. In a small nonstick pan, toast cumin and mustard seeds, tossing frequently on a low heat
  • 3. Remove from heat
  • 4. Place spice in a ziplock bag, seal and with bottom of glass spice container, break apart mustard seeds
  • 5. Add mustard seed and cumin mix to blender, along with water, turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes, and salt
  • 6. Place pineapple chunks, then honey in blender, and seal lid tightly
  • 7. Blend on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until smooth
  • 8. Pour into sauce pan and simmer on low/medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes
  • 9. Serve with fresh or dried cilantro as a garnish, if desired
  • 10. Enjoy!