Rasam…an aromatic ingestion usually given as a second course serving especially in Sadhyas (feasts) undoubtedly making it another featured and inseparable part of Kerala cuisine. A truly enticing dish served to lighten those crammed tummies after those heavy sumptuous meals…. Popularly tagged as “South Indian soup” around the globe, rasam marks its way as another sparkling example of the South Indian cuisine….
Rasam, in layman’s terms, can be described as a watery or thinned soup like drink spiced with lots of mild spices backed by a few herbs and a few tomatoes or tamarind to add zing to it…. And needless to say about the final garnishing of the coriander leaves that leaves the whole vicinity absolutely aromatic and captivated for a while. Though the basic guiding principles to make a rasam are almost the same universally, the usage of the ingredients and some of the steps varies in each household leaving their own imprint in the world of Rasam recipes.
As cited before, one of the notable features of rasam is that it incorporates lots of spices and herbs…and thereby making it primarily eminent in medicinal values…. A bare intake of plain rasam is highly healthy as it aids in digestion especially after a heavy meal…quite reminding me of the Rasam powder ad shown on TV. :) And not to mention about the Pepper rasam (made with lots of pepper) which is extremely useful to get quick relief from common cold and congestion. Cheapest way to recuperate!!!! :-P
So, here’s my amma-in-law’s version of a simple and naadan rasam made with home made rasam powder.
3 – 4 large ripe Tomatoes
A very small cube of Jaggery (Sharkkara)
A piece of Asafoetida/Hing
½ tsp of Turmeric powder
Lots of Curry leaves
Lots of Coriander leaves
A tbsp of Red gram/Toor dhal/Thuvaraparippu
2 tbsp of Coriander seeds
1 tsp of Peppercorns
4 – 5 Dry red chillies
1 tsp of Cumin seeds
5 – 6 Garlic pods
1 tsp of Mustard seeds
2 – 3 broken Dry chillies
4 - 5 Small onions
A tbsp of Oil
1)Chop the tomatoes into fine pieces.
2)Lightly dry roast or heat the ingredients for grinding in a small pan. Pls make sure you don’t roast it too much.
3)Allow it to cool a bit and then grind it to a fine powder.
4)Heat oil in a pan.
5)Splutter the mustard seeds and sauté the broken dry chillies, finely chopped small onions and curry leaves.
6)Add the tomatoes and mix well.
7)Sauté the tomatoes a bit. Pls do not reduce it to pulp. The tomatoes should only be lightly mashed and the chunks should remain as such.
8)Add the turmeric powder and mix well again.
9)Add the required amount of water followed by the crushed powder.
10)Add salt and mix well.
11)Add chopped coriander leaves and asafoetida and simmer it for some time.
12)Add the jaggery piece to it and stir well.
13)When it starts to bubble, switch off the flame.
14)Cover it so as to lock the flavour.
15)Serve warm with rice.
1)You can also add another chopped lot of fresh coriander leaves before serving.
2)You can substitute the tomatoes with a lemon sized tamarind.
3)You can cook the dhal separately and add it instead of grinding to a powder. But grinding is much easier as it saves a lot of time.
4)You can also alter the quantity of garlic, red chillies and pepper accdgly.
5)You can also substitute the ingredients for grinding with their respective powders and give more of a reddish hue to it. However, I suggest this method for best results.
6)Inclusion of jaggery or a tsp of sugar is a must as it tends to stabilize the taste factor.
7)Though I’ve started off the cooking procedure with the tempering, you can skip it if preferred, and start out with sautéing the tomatoes and save the tempering part to the end.
Anyways, at the end of it all, you’ll have a pot of fresh n spicy rasam to be guzzled down for lunch with rice and other trimmings. An absolutely naadan treat for a change!! A must try delicacy which’d definitely leave you all with something to cheer about for lunch.
And a final word to those down with flu, look no further. Have a glass of piping hot rasam and I’m sure you’ll definitely do away with your illness and would be on your way to reinstate your health before long.
So, on that get well note, happy cooking!!!
PS Inspiration for this Blog recipe - My Flu hit family since past one week :-(
Labels: Naadan Veg Curries