Jihva For Ginger ~ Ginger Rasam With Dosakai

charu ingredients
ingredients for ginger rasam, clockwise from bottom: fresh young ginger, tamarind ball, powdered toor dal, cumin-coriander powder with pepper and turmeric, jaggery

dosakai (dosakaya, vellarika, yellow cucumber)
dosakai, halved – smells sweet like ripe melon but tastes tart

dosakai cooked with turmeric
diced dosakai cooked with turmeric

Do you ever bite off more than you can chew?

Over the past week I have done this. I went to the Indian grocery after so long, and found this gorgeous dosakai/dosakaya/vellarika. I just *had* to cook it. I had ordered Cooking At Home With Pedatha, and it arrived day before yesterday. I just *had* to cook something from it. I wanted to contribute to Jihva for Ginger. I just *had* to cook something gingery. And I do not love ginger!

All of these thoughts, with ingredients and recipes at my disposal, and I couldn’t think of a thing to cook.

Sometimes when I am overloaded like this, I walk away. I did this last night. I walked away from the kitchen and sat down to read my new cookbook. It was enlightening, and it settled me. Cooking At Home With Pedatha is a wonderful book (click here to read the review!). Full of simple, beautiful photographs, it conveys the wisdom and instinct of a woman who reminds me very much of my own nana. When I returned to the kitchen, instead of facing a quandry, I was inspired. I fiddled a little with one of Pedatha’s recipes, and came up with this. In the end, it served all three purposes.

pedatha’s recipe
a page from Cooking At Home With Pedatha

Ginger Rasam with Dosakaya
based on Sweet Rasam (Theeyati Charu) from Cooking At Home With Pedatha

1/2 fresh ripe dosakai, peeled, seeded, and diced

1/4 cup young fresh ginger pieces, peeled and lightly crushed
1 small lime-size chunk tamarind, pressed into a ball

2 TB jaggery
1 TB cumin-coriander powder
1 TB toor dal, ground to a powder
2 tsp fresh roasted pepper, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric

6 cups water

1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch asafoetida

salt to taste
fresh cilantro and minced young ginger to garnish


Put dosakai in a small saucepan with enough water to cover and a pinch each of salt and turmeric. Boil 10-15 minutes until translucent. Drain and set aside.

Place crushed ginger in a medium pot with six cups fresh, cold water and heat over medium heat. When nearly boiling, add tamarind ball, jaggery, cumin-coriander powder, toor dal powder, pepper and turmeric. Stir well and adjust heat to keep at a simmer — cook about 20-30 minutes.

When the liquid begins to take on a reddish brown color, stir it up well, allow to settle, and remove solids with a slotted spoon. Don’t use a fine sieve — with the slotted spoon some of the little ginger, tamarind, and dal bits will remain to give the charu its character. Add the reserved dosakai now and keep the pot just below a simmer.

Heat the ghee in a small pan. Add mustard and asafoetida — when mustard pops and hing has browned lightly, add the tadka to the simmering rasam. Stir once, test for salt and add fresh cilantro and minced ginger for garnish.

Serve at once.

ginger rasam with dosakai
tangy and sweet ~ ginger rasam with dosakai

This is my entry to Jihva for Ginger, hosted graciously by Rosie of What’s The Recipe Today, Jim? — even in the midst of moving! Hats off to you, Rosie, and thanks 🙂

See other recipes with dosakai:

Indianadoc’s Vellarikka Pulingurry

Sailaja’s Dosa Avakai – Andhra Yellow Cucumber Pickle

Shilpa’s Gajbaje Randayi and Sweet Dosa Goda Polo

And last but certainly not least, you can find Inji’s Cucumber Kichadi/Pachadi (and lots of other goodies!) cached, if you scroll down here.



  1. sailaja said

    Oo la la la….!!
    That’s something very innovative, Linda. Ginger rasam with dosakai.
    I think all those new to Indian cooking who think its difficult and laborious should learn from you. Must commend you, Linda..:)

    Can’t think of suitable reply Sailaja — other than thanks and have learned all I know from y’all sweet folks 🙂

  2. indosungod said

    Linda what an interesting and delicious recipe. I would never in a million years thought of adding vegetables to rasam but here you are. I second Sailaja’s comment above!

    It’s a little unconventional, isn’t it ISG? But it came out ok. Now I’m looking to cook some simple traditional dishes — I have okra in the fridge and your okra dish is next 🙂

  3. Asha said

    WOW!! Linda, I didn’t even know what that was!! I have never cooked with Doaskai.Great color though.Looks delicious.I have ordered that Pedatha book too,had to wait until my Amazon coupon to arrive!!;D
    My new post is up with Thatte Idli tutorial ,hope you access it!

    You’re gonna love Pedatha’s book, Asha! You should write one too! The dosakai was good in rasam but am going to try it in a more traditional recipe next 😉 BTW I could get FH at work. Still can’t get it on plain IE here at home — which is odd since can get all other bloggers. Will keep trying! 🙂

  4. Coffee said

    So you finally managed to do something with that huge thing!!!! The rasam looks super!!! Gingery taste would have been a great compliment!!!!!

    Thanks Coffee — yes, and I have half the *thing* in the fridge yet to make dal or a pulusu… 🙂

  5. swapna said

    wow linda
    great recipe dear..with dosakaya…never heard..thanks for sharing

    Thanks for your kind words, Swapna 🙂

  6. pelicano said

    hey linda…wow! you’ve been cooking up a storm since i last visited!!! your ginger rasam is quite innovative….and very pretty indeed! i make rasams now and then, they are nice to sip and i can almost feel the rejuvenating and cooling powers of the spices working immediately…nice to have sitting near a fire in the cold winter of wisconsin. your version is certainly good for the cold/flu season with the melon added as well…i think your enthusiasm for pedatha’s book is the last nudge i needed to acquire my own copy.:-)

    i have a winter melon/ash gourd sitting in the cellar waiting for me patiently to do something….chicken soup chinese style is always an option, but life is short and perhaps i’ll find a new recipe to utilise this “cooking melon” of which asia seems to have many and we of western culture seem to have been by-passed of the pleasure….but not for long eh? 🙂

    Thanks Pelicano — glad you liked the look. I think you’ll really enjoy Pedatha’s book. It’s lovely in every way. And yes, it’s great to have all these wonderful ingredients at our disposal! 🙂

  7. krithika said

    Oh my ! what a creative idea. What a great entry for JFI. Linda, I would have never thought of using this combination. Great job

    Thank you Krithika — always happy to see you here! Your ginger toffee is the one I want to try! 🙂

  8. Sushma said

    So this is what was about the post “What shall I cook”. The ginger dosakai rasam seems interesting. Nice entry Linda 🙂

    Thanks Sushma — when I posted “what shall I cook” I had no idea what to do with the dosakai! 🙂

  9. Lera said

    Linda ,you have mastered the art of cooking, ginger rasam with dosakai looks so tempting and has a lovely colour ! Moong with dil and channa too looks lovely 🙂

    Hi Lera, and thanks! So glad you liked the dishes. I don’t know about mastering, but I made your lotus seeds gravy tonight (photo forthcoming) and it was simply fantastic :):)

  10. Hema said

    Hi Linda! I have my own doubts now. Are you really not Indian? You cook more Indian food than I do! I haven’t even attempted to buy dosakkaya since I got to the US. Hats off!!! As everyone’s said, this is an entirely new kind of rasam. Wonderful entry.

    Glad to see you back, Hema! Maybe I was Indian in a past life… it’s all too tempting for me to resist. The new owners of my little grocery carry lots of interesting veggies; I had to get this one and try. Do you have some recipes for it?? (hint hint) 🙂

  11. nice recipe and looks more healthy one.Thanks for sharing this perfect recipe for winter.

    Thank you so much, Meena — it was spicy-warm on a chilly night 🙂

  12. Nupur said

    Oh my goodness, what a delicious dish! I don’t think I have even ever eaten dosakai. I made ginger rasam for JFI too, but can I just say that your version looks so much more delicious and authentic?!

    Hi Nupur, thanks for visiting and thanks for your kind words! 🙂
    This probably sounds authentic because the basic recipe was from Pedatha’s book — I adjusted a few things but followed her method. I am now hurrying to see your ginger rasam!

  13. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,
    Ginger Rasam with Dosakkai looks awesome. I think this rasam tastes sweet and tangy. Lovely one.Have to learn so many things from you linda. Thanks for sharing.

    Aw, thanks so much MT! I think I have more to learn from you though 🙂

  14. MeltingWok said

    Hi Linda, wowww..this is totally different how I’m accustomed to, thanks for sharing, now I could make use of my herbs and spices in a soup like this one, cheers ! 🙂

    thank *you*,MW 🙂

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