October 23, 2011

Rasam Recipe

I know of many households, especially in Andhra, where rasam is a must-have at meals, each and every single day. I have been brought up in such a house :P So, my extreme liking of rasam dates back to my childhood. I remember my grandma mixing hot rice with steaming aromatic rasam and pouring ghee generously, and feed me mouthfuls of that warm juicy thing before going to school on rickshaw. I must be a mere 5 year-old that time, yet I remember it so vividly :) That was my first and best memory of rasam!

Krishna is my adversary at that. He thinks it is silly. According to him, rasam is not a dish at all! How rude!!! The only time he appreciated the goodness of rasam is when he was sick with fever for almost a week and completely lost his appetite. Rasam helped him revive his hunger while recovering.

Rasam has many health benefits. A few that comes to my mind are:
- The blend of spices used in rasam preparation aid in easy digestion of even a heavy meal.
- Rasam stimulates the digestive enzymes and improves appetite.
- Rasam with rice is one of the first baby foods in our households.
- Rasam is recommended for people recovering from sickness.
- Rasam relieves constipation.

Now, putting an end to my rasam saga and coming to the recipe part of it. I have learnt it from my mother-in-law's mother-in-law (krishna's grannie). Legacy :-)

Water - around 1 1/2 litres
Tomato (chopped) - 1
Tamarind - lemon-sized ball
Salt - 2 or 3 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
sugar - 1/2 tsp
fresh curry leaves - handful
fresh coriander - bunch

List-2 (for rasam masala):
cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1tsp
black pepper seeds - 1 tsp (it determines the spice level of rasam, so next time u make rasam adjust to ur taste)
garlic pods - 3

List-3 (seasoning):
oil - 2 tsps
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida  - a pinch
dried red chili - 2
fresh curry leaves - 7 or 8

Never prepare rasam in a non-stick vessel. Use a stainless steel one.
1. Put all the above mentioned list-1ingredients in water and bring it to boil.
2. While the water is getting heated, grind list-2 items -- the cumin, pepper and garlic into a coarse paste. This simple and freshly ground rasam masala will give unbelievable aroma and taste to the rasam.
3. Add the masala paste and bring it to boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the flame to low and leave it boiling for 10 minutes. Adjust salt as per taste.

4. Take a small non-stick pan for seasoning. Heat oil in the pan.
5. Add asafoetida and then mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds in the same order.
6. When you hear first splutter of mustard seeds, add red chilies in halves.
7. Add curry leaves in the end just before turning off the flame.
8. Transfer these contents into the rasam.

By the time you finish all these steps, you will have the amazingly tasty rasam :) Trust me on that :D