This is a simple and easy to make rasam or sambar made from rice starch. It has the same taste as the regular rasam but it is gluten-free.

Rasam is a popular Indian dish made from rice or lentils. It’s usually eaten with rice and it’s also known as gajji saaru. Read more in detail here: rasam.

Rice starch is used to make Ganji Saaru, Ganji Rasam, and Thili Saaru/Rasam.

This dish is great for bachelors. Is it possible to live on congee for nearly every day of the week? Make this tasty thili saaru/rasam with rice starch in 2 more minutes in the kitchen. All you’ll need for a wonderful lunch or supper is steaming hot rice, this rasam, and a pickle. The yoghurt/buttermilk used gives it a sour flavor, while the onions provide a great crunch and the cumin spice gives it a fantastic flavor. 

It’s also soothing. Yogurt-based recipes are comforting, particularly in the summer. 

Do you know what thili saaru is? Thili saaru approximately translates to “watery rasam/stew” in Kannada. Ganji saaru is the name given to this rice starch rasam. The water (starch) emptied after cooking rice is known as ganji in Kannada. 

Two Twitter users, Avinav Beloor and Anushree Sp, were discussing a thili saaru prepared from rice starch one day. I discovered this frugal, excellent old dish, also known as ukku thili saaru, thanks to Avinav Beloor. These men then informed me it’s an ancient Brahmin community dish that’s becoming uncommon as pressure cookers become more common. These folks gladly offered me the recipe for this saaru, which I had never heard of before. I tried it right away since it’s so simple and fast to prepare. OMG! I ate the whole saaru because it was so good. Yes, I did consume it. 🙂 This is something I do now every time I prepare rasam. Don’t you agree that you should try this saaru?

And I was curious whether this saaru thickens when the rice starch cools, but it doesn’t. Still curious as to what curds/buttermilk do to rice starch to prevent it from thickening as it cools! 

P.S. You may prepare this saaru with any kind of rice. Brown rice, white rice, or basmati rice are all options.

I just appreciate how people used to cook in the past. Anything may be transformed into a delectable meal. And nothing was thrown away. They cherished every morsel of edible matter on the earth. 🙂


  • 1 cup rice starch = 1/2 cup rice grains
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk/curds
  • cumin powder (1/2 teaspoon) (optional)
  • 1 finely chopped tiny onion
  • season with salt to taste


  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon
  • a quarter teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 red chili, dried
  • 1 curry leaf (leaflet)

Serves: 1

Time to prepare: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: None, assuming you have rice starch on hand.

20-25 minutes to cook rice and get rice starch

Method of Preparation:

Getting rice starch and cooking rice:

  1. Rice grains should be well washed. Rice with a medium grain will suffice. 
  2. Cook over medium heat with 2 cups water until the rice is tender and cooked through. When squeezed between your fingers, cooked rice should be soft.
  3. Fill a serving dish halfway with rice starch.
  4. Carefully decant any leftover rice starch onto a dish to cover the cooking pot. Make sure there is no rice starch left between the rice grains. Because the cooking pot will be hot, use a towel to assist you decant.
  5. To conveniently collect the starchy water, sift cooked rice through a colander (or a sieving cloth).

Seasoning and making rice starch saaru:

  1. Add the buttermilk/curds to the rice starch in the basin and stir thoroughly. If the rice starch is steaming hot, that’s OK. 
  2. Mix in the salt, finely chopped onion, and cumin powder (optional).
  3. Then season it as follows: In a tempering pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Add cumin seeds when they begin to sputter. Once they’ve both stopped popping, add the dried red chilies and curry leaves and cook for a few seconds. 
  4. Mix this spice into the saaru well. 

Suggestions for serving

1. Serve with steaming hot rice to accompany this delectable saaru. On the side, a pickle.

2. Or with some buttermilk chilies that are hot and crispy.

3. Serve this rasam with rice and spring onions coated in a spicy mango pickle. Alternatively, serve them with this hot onion-coconut chutney. 

4. For lunch or supper, any spicy side works nicely with this ganji saaru. You might prepare the following side dishes:

Potato sidedish with a kick (Batate Song , Potato and onion in spicy red masala), 

Potato masala, cabbage (Cabbage Batate Sukke), 

Masala of Cluster Beans (Mitke Sanga Sukke), etc.


  1. For a more flavorful rasam, add finely chopped fresh coriander towards the end. 
  2. For additional flavor, asafoetida powder may be added to the seasoning. 
  3. You may also add the buttermilk chilies to the rasam after they’ve been fried in the spice till they’ve become a dark brown color. In such scenario, 3 teaspoons of oil would be required for seasoning. As the buttermilk chilies soak in the rasam, they soften. Soggy buttermilk chillies aren’t as enjoyable to eat as crispy ones, so get rid of them quickly. 

You may also attempt this ganji rasam in a different way. 

Ganji Saaru, Ukku thili saaru, Brahmin recipe, traditional dish, rice starch thili saaru.

Related Tag

  • rice starch