Pepper water (Similar to Rasam) invariably forms part of the afternoon meal on some days of the week in Anglo-Indian Homes in the South of India.  It is usually had with plain white rice and accompanied by either a meat, poultry, or a seafood dish that is generally a dry fry. Pepper water should always be of a watery consistency. Many people like to drink a cup of pepper water after a meal since it aids in digestion. Anglo-Indian Pepper Water in the South of India is slightly different from the Tamil Rasam and our Pepper Water morphed from it. The Anglos in the North and East of India use a different method to prepare Pepper Water. This version is the recipe that was prepared by my mother and grandmother in Kolar Gold Fields. 


Serves 6 Preparation Time 20 minutes

2 large tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon pepper powder  
1 teaspoon chillie powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
½ cup tamarind juice extracted from a small ball of tamarind or 2 teaspoons tamarind paste   

Cook all the above with 4 or 5 cups of water in a vessel on high heat till it boils. Reduce the heat and cook on low heat for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Temper or Season the Pepper Water as follows with the under mentioned ingredients which should be used whenever a dish is to be seasoned/ tempered.

I small onion sliced
2 red chilies broken into bits
1 teaspoon chopped garlic crushed roughly
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
2 teaspoons oil

Heat the oil in a sutiable vessel and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves, onion, crushed garlic and red chilies and sauté for a few minutes.  Pour the cooked pepper water into this and simmer for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Serve hot with rice and any meat side dish.

Note: The pepper water can be prepared by using fresh red chilies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns ground in a mixer or blender instead of the powders.



  1. when using curry leaves does it make a difference if they are fresh or dried?

  2. Its always preferable to use fresh curry leaves. However, if you are unable to get fresh curry leaves you could use the dried leaves.

  3. My dad used to make this! How wonderful to have this recipe

  4. Thank you so much for the recipe. I had this as a kid when I was in Burma at a Punjabi Restaurant in Rangoon (Rice on Banana Leaves and pepper water in a mug). I have been looking all over the web for the recipe and finally my mom told me its also called Pepper Water. Boom, there it is! I found your web site and recipe. Do you use any particular Chili or Pepper powder (Type of chill or brand)?

    1. I'm so happy that my Website of Anglo-Indian Recipes has brought back so much nostalgia for you. You could use any good brand of chillie powder or pepper powder.

    2. I have one of your books so I made the pepperwater which was wonderful. I remembered in my childhood that my grand mother used to make "Pepper Water with Dry Fry which was a meat dish. I've looked for the Dry fry recipe to no avail. If somebody has the recipe I would be very grateful to get it. Many thanks.

  5. We have been having this since I was a kid.
    We had an Anglo Indian cook who used to make a wonderful pepper water and jalfrezi.
    My mom is Bengali yet she learnt dishes from him.
    I was googling to figure out if it's indeed pepper water or it was something that was lost in translation.
    I am glad know that it indeed is and the recipe seems almost the same expect my mom doesn't add tomatoes.
    My grand mother was Anglo Indian as well and she made some very unique dishes. I will try and get your book and see if I can rediscover some of them.
    God bless

  6. Thank you. I’m sure you’ll enjoy my recipes and they’ll bring back lots of nostalgia

  7. Could u please send me the name of ur recipe book,Mam