Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Milagu Jeera Rasam (Pepper-Cumin Rasam)

We have been having such rich food the past few days because of Navrathri festival. I have been hosting parties and have been going to friends’ places for parties. On top of that we have been feasting on left-overs. I was ready to give my stomach a break! 

 My mom always used to make jeera rasam on days following big festivals and it seemed like the perfect thing for settling down our tummies.  We would have “oil baths” – where we slather sesame oil on our head and body and wash it all off with shikkakai powder – our eyes burning because of the stray powder that has somehow managed to get into them!  We will then feast on poondu rasam (made with garlic), paruppu thogayal, and urilaikizhangu curry.  What a combination!  My dad did not like garlic, so she would make the jeera rasam without the garlic for him.

She would also make this for us if we had a cold/cough or were generally feeling sick.  Some people associate this with illnesses, but it tastes so good and is really simple to make that I make it about once a month.

I also typically serve this with paruppu thogayal (a chutney made with dals) and urilaikizhangu (potato) curry.

Since the rasam does not have dal, the paruppu thogayal complements this well.

Here is what you need:

  • tarmarind, the size of key lime (you can substitute 2 tsp. of readymade tamarind pulp instead)
  • salt to taste
  • few curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. hing (asafetida)
To grind to a paste:
  • ½ tsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. toor dal
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 – 2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 3 cloves garlic (optional)
  • few more curry leaves
For tempering:
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. jeera

Here is how I made it:

  1. Soak the tamarind in a cup or so of warm water and squeeze out the juices.  Discard the remaining pulp.
  2. In a pot, bring the tamarind water, salt, curry leaves, turmeric, and hing to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pan and roast the toor dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and red chili for a couple of minutes.
  4. Grind this to a paste with the tomatoes, curry leaves, and garlic (optional).
  5. Add the ground paste to the simmering tamarind water.  Add more water to dilute the rasam.
  6. Bring this whole thing to a boil and turn off the heat (remember not to let this boil for long)
  7. Heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard and jeera seeds.
  8. When the mustard seeds sputter, turn off the heat and pour this tempering over the rasam.

Serve with rice, paruppu thogayal and urilaikizhangu curry.

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