Rasam is very light – a sort of soup. It is a part of every feast - it is had with rice as the second course. Otherwise it is usually prepared on the days which have ‘koottaans’ without tamarind. Sometimes on the day after a heavy feast, ‘rasam’ and rice with some ‘thoran’/'mezhukkuvaratti’ tastes light and divine. You can prepare rasam with a little more dal if you feel the meal is too light.
Pappadam / appalam / karuvadam (fryums) or any of the side-dishes taste good with 'rasam & rice'.
Tamarind – 1 lemon-sized ball (soaked in water and pulp extracted)
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Sambar / rasam powder – 2 tsp
Pepper powder – 1 tsp
Asafetida – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Jaggery / sugar– 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 2-3 – chopped
Tuvar dal (sambar dal) – 3 tbsp (pressure-cooked)
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves -6
Ghee – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – chopped - 1 tbsp
Soak the tamarind in water for at least 30 minutes and extract the pulp. Add a cup of water.
Add turmeric and rasam powders, sugar, salt and asafetida and boil for 5-7 minutes on low heat.
Add the chopped tomatoes and boil for 2 minutes.
Pressure-cook the dal (for 2-3 whistles). Allow to cool.
Mash the dal well. Add water and mix well and add it to the boiled tamarind.
Add more water till it has a thin consistency (soup-like).
For ‘tadka’ - heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, turn off the heat and add the curry leaves. Transfer it to the rasam.
After 10 minutes add the chopped fresh coriander leaves.
The asafetida can be added at the end along with mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves for better flavor.
Always garnish with coriander leaves after 10 minutes or more to retain the green color of the coriander leaves.
Always tear curry leaves into half and add it to the hot oil (with spluttering mustard seeds etc) before pouring into the curry.
If the rasam is not sour enough, add a dash of lemon.
© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.