Saturday, April 4, 2015

Inji-Poondu-Thakkali Rasam (Ginger-Garlic-Tomato Rasam)

Our spring break is almost done!  We spent most of it visiting family on the west coast.  My husband has a lot of cousins in this country.  Three of them live in the northwest – Portland – Seattle area.  Since it has been a while since we went to that part of the country, we decided to go there over spring break.

The whole trip was fantastic.  I fell in love with the greenery – especially going from my brown lawn with dead trees to the gorgeous, green, lush landscape, was refreshing! 

We were also treated to some super delicious food – starting with authentic Mumbai pav bhaji and sev puri, mutter paneer, rajma, homemade phulkas, pulav, raita, baingan bartha, carrot halwa, idlis, sambar, chutney, vadas, yogurt rice, potato curry, avial, rasam, green vatana curry, dal fry, kovakkai curry, more potatoes, sambar, rasam, dosai (and a few other dishes that I am sure I have forgotten)…. And not to mention the food outside!  It is an understatement to say that we ate a lot!

Anyway, once we got back home, I was ready to make some simple food to recover from the culinary overload.  What better way to do that than with wholesome rasam?  This recipe is the same as my regular rasam, but with a slight twist.  It tastes great with rice, but I have friends who love to pour this into a katori and drink it up!

Here is what you need:

  • ¼ cup toor dal, boiled (I cook this in my pressure cooker till the dal is cooked completely)
  • small lime sized ball of tamarind (you can substitute 2 tsp. tamarind paste instead)
  • 1 large tomato – washed and chopped
  • 2 tsp. rasam powder (I use my mom’s rasam powder – any store bought brand should work)
  • 2 green chillies – washed and slit lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1” piece ginger
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp hing
  • 1 tsp. ghee or oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. crushed pepper
  • few curry leaves washed
  • few sprigs of cilantro – washed and chopped 

Here is how I made it:

  1. Put the tamarind in a cup of warm water for a few minutes.  Squeeze out the juices.  Add some more water and repeat. Discard the pulp.  If you are using tamarind paste, mix the paste with 2 cups of water
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and crush them with your hand.
  3. Add the rasam powder and salt.
  4. Take the ginger, green chilies, and garlic in a mortar and pestle.  Crush it to a coarse paste.  Add this to the rasam.
  5. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Mix the cooked toor dal with 2 cups of water and add it to the tamarind mixture.
  7. Add the hing and curry leaves and let this simmer (don’t let it come to a boil) till it if frothy on top.
  8. Turn off the stove and add the cilantro.
  9. Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan.  Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and crushed pepper.
  10. Remove from heat when the mustard seeds start to sputter and pour this over the rasam.

Serve with rice, papads, and vegetables of your choice.  My family likes it with potato curry.

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