Rasam Made From Rice Starch (Ganji Saaru Recipe)

Rasam Made From Rice Starch (Ganji Saaru Recipe)

Ganji Saaru, Ganji Rasam, Thili Saaru/Rasam made from rice starch.

Bachelors, this recipe is perfect for you. Survive on congee almost every day of the week? Spend 2 more minutes in the kitchen to make this delicious thili saaru/rasam using rice starch. Steaming hot rice, this rasam, a pickle is all that you’ll need to make a delicious lunch, dinner. It’s sour from yoghurt/buttermilk used, onions add a nice crunch & cumin seasoning adds a wonderful flavour to this rasam. 

It’s comforting too. Recipes based on yoghurt are heartwarming, especially during summers. 

Wondering what is thili saaru? In Kannada thili saaru roughly means watery rasam/stew. This rice starch rasam is more popularly known as ganji saaru. Ganji in Kannada is the water (starch) drained after cooking rice. 

One day, two tweeps on Twitter, Avinav Beloor & Anushree Sp on Twitter were discussing a thili saaru made from rice starch. Thanks a million to Avinav Beloor I found this frugal, good old recipe, also known as ukku thili saaru. These guys then told me it's a very old Brahmin community recipe that’s becoming a rare thing with the use of pressure cookers. I had never heard of this saaru & these guys happily gave me the recipe. I gave it a try that very day, as it’s super easy & quick to make. OMG! It was so delicious I gulped down whole of this saaru. Yup, I drank it. :) I do that every time I make this rasam now. Don't you think you should give this saaru a try?

And I wondered if this saaru gets thick as rice starch cools down, it doesn’t. Still wondering what does curds/buttermilk do to rice starch, that it doesn’t thicken on cooling down! 

P.S: You can use any kind of rice to make this saaru. Brown rice, white rice or basmati.

I just admire the way people in earlier days used to cook. Anything simple could be turned into a delicious dish. And nothing went waste. They valued every bit of edible stuff on this planet. :)


  • 1/2 cup of rice grains/1 cup of rice starch
  • 1/2 cup of curds/buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1 leaflet of curry leaf

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cooking Time: Zero, provided you have the rice starch.

Cooking rice & obtaining the rice starch - 20-25 minutes

Preparation Method:

Cooking rice & obtaining rice starch:

  1. Wash rice grains well. Any medium grained rice shall do. 
  2. Cook them with 2 cups of water on medium flame until the rice is cooked through & soft. Cooked rice, when pressed between your fingers, should be soft.
  3. Decant the rice starch into a serving bowl.
  4. Using a plate to cover the cooking vessel, carefully decant any remaining rice starch. Make sure there’s no rice starch remaining in between rice. Use a cloth help you decant as the cooking vessel would be hot.
  5. Alternatively, sieve cooked rice through a colander (or a sieving cloth) to collect the starchy water easily.

Seasoning & preparing saaru from rice starch:

  1. To the rice starch in the bowl, add in buttermilk/curds & mix well. It’s ok if the rice starch is steaming hot. 
  2. Add in salt, finely chopped onion, cumin powder (optional) and mix well.
  3. Then season it: Heat oil in a tempering pan, add in mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add cumin seeds. Once they both stop popping, add dried red chilli pieces, curry leaves & let them sizzle for few seconds. 
  4. Add this seasoning to the saaru & mix well. 

Serving suggestions:

1. Serve this delicious saaru with steaming hot rice. A pickle on the side.

2. Or with some spicy, crispy, buttermilk chillies.

3. Spring onions dipped in a spicy mango pickle go very well with rice & this rasam. Or serve them with this spicy onion-coconut chutney

4. Any spicy side goes well with this ganji saaru for lunch, dinner. Few of the side dishes you could make are:

Spicy potato sidedish (Batate Song , Potato and onion in spicy red masala)

Cabbage, potato masala (Cabbage Batate Sukke)

Cluster Beans Masala (Mitke Sanga Sukke) etc.


  1. You can add finely chopped fresh coriander to this rasam at the end for added taste. 
  2. You can also add asafoetida powder to the seasoning for added flavour. 
  3. You can fry the buttermilk chillies in the seasoning until they turn blackish brown in colour & add it to this rasam too. In that case, you would need 3 tablespoons of oil for seasoning. Buttermilk chillies get soft with time as it soaks in the rasam. Soggy buttermilk chillies aren’t a pleasure to eat unlike the crispy ones, so empty them quick. 

Here’s another variation of this ganji rasam you could try. 

Tags: Ganji Saaru, Ukku thili saaru, Brahmin recipe, traditional recipe, thili saaru made from rice starch.