I have a great liking for soups generally, because it can be made from almost anything. You can toss in any kind of vegetable or meat along with some basic spices and you will have a nice pot of soup. Many times it serves as a light & quick meal for me. The only disadvantage is- its a little time consuming. Thats why I am particularly fond of rasams, because they are much easier and quicker to make and still gives a similar "soupy" feeling.. Growing up, I remember my parents drinking rasams at the end of the meal, in glasses as hot beverages. It intimidated me and wondered how can anyone enjoy such a steaming hot, highly spiced drink. But it makes sense now. The flavor is irresistible and drinking in glasses is indeed a great way to enjoy rasam!
There are a variety of traditional rasams popular across the states of south india. Its an everyday cooking in almost all households in Tamilnadu. Modern cooking uses readymade Rasam powder available from stores. I however prefer using freshly ground spices rather than a prepared powder, but rasams made from rasam powders come out just fine.
My sister told me about this great recipe for Mysore rasam. She is a doctor in India, and is a great cook as well. She passed on this recipe to me and told that this rasam comes out great for her everytime. I tried this today and she was right! Its made from a tomato base and other mild spices. I have no idea why its called so, but I'm guessing (like everyone else!) may be it originated from Mysore.
- Tomato-4 nos
- Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
- Tuvar dal water -1 cup (clear water after cooking the lentils)
- Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
- Chilly powder-1/2 tsp
- Pepper powder-1/2 tsp
- Ccumin seed powder-1 tsp
- Coriander leaves-1 cup
- Curry leaves-one handful
- To make the lentils stock, pressure cook tuvar dal with 3 cups of water and drain the water separately.
- Dissolve the tamarind paste in 1 cup of water. Add turmeric powder chilly powder and salt.Boil this for 5 mins.
- Then add the tomato puree (prepared by cooking the tomatoes, peeling off the skin and grinding it to a thick paste) and boil for 5mins.
- Now add the dal water (paruppu thanni), pepper powder, cumin powder, coriander leaves. Allow it to boil for 5 mins.
- Heat 2 tsp of ghee in a separate pan, Seasos with 1 tsp of cumin seeds and add it to the rasam. Boil for a min and turn off heat.