The quintessential Rasam! Rasam, is so light, spicy, nourishing and so very warming, a digestive too, is medicinal when you have a cold and an ideal food for convalescence. A healthy dish that can be put together even when one feels weak and with few available ingredients. I have a short-cut for making this delightfully peppery soup.
Before starting off, let's get things ready. You will need a pressure cooker and a pan for tempering, ‘tadka’ as we know it.
Ingredients for the cooker rasam
Handful of tur dal
Fistful of garlic and shallots
Couple of green chillies
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes ripe 2 or 3 chopped
Ingredients for the tadka pan
1 tbsp of sesame oil
Mustard, fenugreek and cumin(whole). 1/2 tsp each
Curry leaves few
Dry red chillies 2 to 3
Garlic cloves 3
Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Pepper cracked 1 tsp
Also in a bowl soak tamarind ( could use a tsp of juice from lime, if not available)
Coriander leaves for garnish and flavour.(optional)
In a cooker add all the cooker ingredients with sufficient water and cook for about 5 minutes. Open, give the mix a mash using a masher. Extract tamarind and keep aside (about quarter cup or less). Now in the pan, take sesame oil, add mustard, fenugreek and cumin, let it splutter, now add the curry leaves and pieces of red chillies, now the asofoetida, now using your mortar and pestle give a slight crush to the garlic and toss that too in the oil, now add half the quantity of cumin and pepper powder in the oil, all this to be done in rapid succession in hot oil, pour in the cooker mix, stay away from hot splashes, now add the tamarind water just enough for a nice tang, add remaining cumin and cracked pepper and let simmer, you will find the Rasam beginning to froth, and then just when it begins to boil, turn the heat off, sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and have this glorious broth with hot rice and appalams.
- You could add chopped carrots or any vegetable like pumpkin, bottlegourd, about quarter cup into the cooker for added nutrition.
- You could add some bone broth in lieu of water or any vegetable stock into the cooker.
- If you want a clear rasam, you could strain the cooker when done and add tadka.
- You could add a hint of jaggery to the Rasam when done to balance flavours.
- You could increase pepper and garlic if preferred as per taste.