This is a basic recipe for the humble rasam. This lentil soup consisting of dal, tomato and spices is a must-have in tambram meals. It forms a part of the staple three course meal at the in-laws, the recipe being handed down from Paatima to MIL. I have borrowed this from Paatima, hoping to one day achieve the magic taste that her seasoned hands stir up everyday.
Source – Paatima
Cooking time – 30 minutes
Serves – 3 – 4
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/3 cup dal (boiled or pressure cooked)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- 2 tbsp freshly sqeezed tamarind pulp or 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
- 2 tsp rasam powder
- A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- A pinch of pepper (optional)
- 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 – 3 curry leaves (optional)
- 2 – 3 coriander leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp ghee (Great if you have it. If not, butter could be a substitute)
- Salt to taste
How to make it:
- Take 2 – 3 cups of water in a pot. Add the chopped tomatoes, rasam powder, hing, tamarind pulp, corinder leaves, and salt. I skipped the coriander in my recipe because I didn’t have any today. Cook this mixture for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Lightly whisk the cooked dal with an egg-beater or a spoon to partially mash the dal.
- Pour the dal and a small pinch of pepper (optional) into the boiling tomato soup and adjust the level of water to achieve a thin soupy consistency. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Taste check for your preferred level of salt and tanginess (tamarind). Once you’re happy, remove it from the stove.
- The final step is to season the rasam. Heat the ghee in a pan and add in the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, throw in a sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of hing. Season the rasam with this hot mixture. (I used butter since I don’t store ghee at home. Butter provides the same taste like ghee, however the flipside is that it tends to burn more easily.)
- Serve hot with rice. You can also serve it by itself as a soup.
Note: Step 4 might seem like a trivial step that we sometimes feel like eliminating for the wont of time, and to let you all into a secret, I’ve done that a couple of times myself. But I highly recommend that you go the whole hog and do this final step, especially if you’re making this for guests. 😉 May be its just an acquired sense of smell but the aroma from the ghee transforms this soup into a divine concoction and fills the place with a wonderful waft, bringing hungry stomachs to the dinner table. 🙂