Nov 11, 2009

All about Rasams!!

Rasam can be defined as a South Indian soup which is taken along with rice basically. Its made with tamarind water mixed with a variety of spices and lentils. It is known by different names in the different southern states. Its Rasam in Tamil nadu,saaru in karnataka, chaaru in Andhrapradesh. The Aiyengars call it as "saathamudu". Many restaurants serve mulagatwany soup which is also a kind of rasam. There are so many varieties of rasam though the basic recipe remains the same. As I had a few requests from some friends and readers for the rasam recipe , I thought of compiling into a single post. Find more about rasam here.
First of all , let me provide the recipe of rasam powder which can be prepared in a large quantity and stored for a sufficiently long time and used during any rasam preperation.

Rasam Powder
Coriander seeds/dhania seeds- 100g
Tuvar dal- 50g
Cumin seeds/jeera seeds- 25g
black pepper- 2tsps
Red chillies- 8 to 9 ( more if you can take the heat)
Curry leaves- few leaves(optional)

Dry roast all the ingredients together. Let it cool and grind the ingredients to a coarse powder.

rasam Readymade packets of rasam powder are commercially available. They are available in a lot of brandnames. I have used MTR rasam powder and I really love the taste, flavour and colour it imparts. Sometimes, even sambar powder can be used for making rasam. That tastes good too!!
rasam There is a special utensil called "eeya chembu" - a lead vessel for preparing rasam and when made in this, the flavour gets enhanced. It does tastes great for sure!!!

rasam As I mentioned above, there are a number of rasam varieties, so I will compile a few basic ones.

1. Pepper rasam-

Tamarind- lime sized lump
Rasam powder- 2-3tsp
Whole pepper- Crushed- 1tsp
cumin seeds powder- 1/2tsp
Cooked tuvar dal/masoor dal- 1/4th cup
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- few leaves
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Ghee- 1/2tsp

Squeeze out the pulp from the tamarind. Add the rasam powder, pepper and cumin seeds powder,salt and curry leaves. Allow it to boil till the smell of rasam powder goes. Now mash the cooked dal, add it to the boiling mixture and boil further for 2-3 minutes. Dilute with around 2-3 cups of water /dal water. Boil till it bubbles up(takes around 10-15 minutes. Remove from flame.
Heat ghee for tempering. Crackle the mustard seeds and asafoetida. Add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves.

rasamOptional- You can also add chopped tomatoes in this. But accordingly reduce the quantity of tamarind.

2.Pineapple Rasam- This is a kind of festive rasam , the method is almost the same.

Tamarind- A very small lump(because pineapple is going to be tart)
Cooked tuvar dal/masoor dal- 1/2 cup
Pepper powder- 1/2tsp
Rasam powder- 2-3 tsp
Pineapple pieces-1/2 can crushed( Use along with the syrup )
jaggery- a small lump-(optional)
Salt to taste
Asafoetida- small pinch
Oil/ghee- 1tsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Coriander for garnising

Squeeze out the juice from the tamarind. Add rasam powder, pepper powder ,salt and the crushed pineapple pieces and allow it to boil till the rasam powder smell goes. Then add the cooked dal and boil for 2 minutes. Dilute with dal water. Boil for another 10 minutes. Add jaggery if using.
Heat oil or ghee. Crackle mustard seeds and asafoetida and add it to the rasam.

rasamYou can also make this without adding tamarind water using just dal. Dilute it accordingly.

3. Mysore rasam- In this, fresh rasam powder is made and used for the rasam.

Tamarind- Size of a lime
Cooked masoor/tuvar dal-1/2 cup
Coriander seeds- 1 1/2tbsp
Channa dal/bengal gram dal- 2tsp
Dried red chillies- 8
Oil- 2tsp
Whole pepper- 5 -6
Curry leaves- few leaves
Oil for tempering
Mustard seeds-1tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnishing.

Heat oil in a pan and roast the coriander seeds,channa dal and the red chillies. Grind this to a paste along with a few pepper corns.
Squeeze out the juice from the tamarind. Add the salt ,asafoetida and curry leaves. Allow it to boil for 10 minutes. Then add the cooked dal and boil for sometime. Dilute with water or dal water and boil till it froths. Then add the prepared powder and mix well.
Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard, curry leaves and red chillies. Add to the rasam and garnish with coriander.

rasam You can add tomatoes in the tamarind water and boil along with it, but reduce the amount of tamarind accordingly.

4.Lemon rasam or elumachampazham rasam or limbu rasam
Cooked Mung dal- 1 cup
Green chillies- 2 chopped
Tomato- 1 chopped
Oil- 1tsp
mustard Seeds- 1tsp
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Lemon juice- of 1 lemon

Heat oil in a pan.Crackle mustard , cumin seeds and green chillies. Add the tomatoes. Cook for sometime. Add the cooked dal along with salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Dilute with 2-3 cups of water . Allow to boil till it froths. Remove from flame. Add the lemon juice. Mix well.

rasam I add a tsp of rasam powder in this. But its totally optional.

5. Tomato Rasam- I always make this when I have a bad cold. The ingredients does the magic.
Tomatoes- 2 big
Cooked dal- half cup oir little less
Garlic -2 cloves
Ginger- 1"
Peppercorns- 5
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Rasam powder-3 tsp
Salt to taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil- 1tsp
Mustard- 1tsp

Grind chopped tomatoes, Ginger ,garlic, peppercorns and cumin seeds in a blender. Heat oil in a pan. Crackle mustard seeds. Add the ground liquid followed by salt, asafoetida and rasam powder. Boil for 10 minutes. Add the dal and cook for 2 more minutes.Dilute with 2 -3 cups of water or dal water and boil till it froths.
  See a detailed post about tomato rasam here- with step by step pictures)
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