When its cold outside or when our body and mind needs rejuvenation, this is our go-to lunch menu. A mere sniff at the hot rasam melts our cold away. , a watered down version of sambar, is synonymous to soup. Its much lighter, easier to prepare and easier to digest.
A typical Tamil meal consists of sambar, rasam, yogurt (homemade and plain), vegetables and rice. Sambar, rasam and curd, served in that order, are to be mixed with rice and eaten with vegetables. Rasam acts as a palate cleanser after the rich lentil and spice laden sambar, and before the cool curd rice. There are many versions of this rasam, also known as ‘’ or ‘milagu thanni soup’ (pepper water in ). This is my mom’s version.
Garlic is optional, though not in my household. You can remove the garlic before serving, if you find it too strong. Curry leaves may be hard to find if you are not in India. But if you can, be sure to include it. Its flavour is unmatchable. Seasoning this rasam with ghee adds another layer of flavour. When I am down with a nasty cold, a tsp of indulgent ghee soothes my throat and soul. You can use oil, if you feel guilty.Pepper Cumin Rasam - Milagu Jeeraga RasamIngredientsTamarind paste – 1 tbsp
Garlic – 5 cloves, crushed
Pepper – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Toor dal – 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds – ¾ tsp
Dried red chilli – ½
Curry leaves – few
Asafoetida – a pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Oil or Ghee – 1 tsp
Mix salt and tamarind paste in a cup of water and begin to boil along with smashed garlic cloves. Grind pepper, cumin seeds, toor dal, coriander seeds, red chilli and curry leaves to a diluted paste. Add this to the boiling tamarind water and boil until tamarind and other spices don’t smell raw. You will be left with a thick paste of tamarind and spices. To this add 3 cups of water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let rasam heat through gently, but do not let it boil. When rasam foams on top, remove from heat and mix asafoetida. In a separate pan, heat oil or ghee, splutter mustard seeds and roast some more curry leaves and add to rasam. Serve hot as soup or with rice.Potato Roast - Urulai Vathakkal
For most of us, potato is synonymous to comfort; be it fried, mashed or sautéed. This simple roast is quite often paired with pepper rasam in our house. Once you try this combination you will know why.
Sambar powder is a readily available spice mixture. It is my preferred choice of seasoning for any quick pan-fried vegetable. If you don’t have sambar powder, a combination of coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric will do the job in most of the recipes.IngredientsPotato – 3, cubed
Sambar powder or a combination of coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric – 1½ tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Heat a tbsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds, and roast chana dal and urad dal until light brown. Add cubed potatoes, sambar powder (or combination of spice powders), salt and mix well. Cover and roast on a medium flame, by sprinkling water when necessary. When the potato cubes are cooked through, add another tbsp of oil and roast on a low flame. When they turn crispy, remove from heat. Serve with rasam and rice. This also goes well with rotis, puris, sambar and yogurt rice.