Rasam, typically served as the second course in South Indian feasts is a flavorful soup made with tamarind water, lentils, tomatoes and an aromatic powder made with several spices. There are several variations of rasam, and one of them is jeera-milagu rasam. Cumin-pepper rasam has several medicinal properties and helps to cure indigestion and provides instant relief when you have a cold. There is no need for cooked lentils and special rasam powder to make this rasam.This recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s “Cook and See” Part 1 is definitely worth trying out on those days when you are pressed for time or feeling under the weather. Rasam can be served as a soup or eaten with rice.
1 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed in 2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida
10 curry leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon split pigeon peas/toor dal
2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon cumin/jeera seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon clarified butter or oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1. Soak together tomato, split pigeon peas/toor dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorn, 5 curry leaves and 1 dried red chili in some water for about 15minutes. Grind to a fine paste and set aside.
2. Place tamarind water in a saucepan on medium heat. Add turmeric powder, powdered asafetida and remaining curry leaves. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10minutes until the raw smell of tamarind goes away.
3. Add the ground paste and cook on medium heat till the mixture gets frothy. Do not bring it to a boil. Add more water if rasam is too thick.
4. Add salt and mix well.
5. Heat ghee or oil in a separate pan and when its hot, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter and then add a dried red chili and cook for 20 seconds.
6. Add the tempering/tadka to the rasam and garnish with cilantro leaves.