Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rasam




Ahh rasam! The tangy, sinus clearing rasam! Addictive concoction of tomatoes, tamarind, pepper, and cumin! Potent as any cocktail even without the addition of alcohol! It awakens your taste buds as it spreads warmth through the body.

My rasam is simple. I love to make it in summer when ripe, luscious tomatoes are plentiful. You can also add some cooked dal (pigeon peas) to rasam, 1 or 2 tbsp. or so. If I have it handy, I add it. Perfectly fine to leave it out!

Ingredients:

ripe tomatoes - 3 chopped
fresh tamarind - 1 tbsp. (may substitute with 1/2 tsp of tamarind concentrate)
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp.
water - 3 cups
salt to taste
Note: If the tomatoes are really ripe and flavorful, you may not need to add much tamarind.

Spices for grinding:
whole black pepper: 1 tsp.
whole cumin - 1 tsp
whole red chili - 1
Grind the above ingredients in a spice/coffee grinder. Does not have to be ground fine, but somewhat smooth.

Add water and turmeric to chopped tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of water. Using your hand squeeze the tamarind to extract the jucies. (Alternatively, use tamarind concentrate.) Add tamarind extract to the pot (discard the tamarind solids) and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat.

Using the back of your spoon, mash the cooked tomatoes well. Drain in a colander pressing the tomatoes with your spoon. Discard the seeds and skin. The pulp would disintergrate into the water. Bring the tomato broth to a boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add the powdered spices. Take off heat.

For tempering:
oil - 1 tsp.
asafoetida pd - 1/4 tsp.
mustard seeds - 1tsp.
dry red chili - 1 (broken into pieces)
fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - 6

Heat oil in a small pan. Add asafoetida followed by the rest of the ingredients. When the mustard seeds have finished popping, add the whole tempering mixture to rasam. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice.

Also, great to drink at the end of a meal!

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