Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rasam, Rasam..What a rasam!..Sappidreengala??


I remember my hostel days when my dear 'Iyer Ponnu' used to eat rice most of the days only with Rasam...even when there were still more items to try...She would come sniffing asking our cook whether there is garlic in the dishes cooked. ...Our cook, a strong 'garlicophilic' would nt have spared any of those dishes except for the poor Rasam...

Rasam, the South Indian soup( vegetarian's chicken soup!)is an excellent appetizer.... pleasantly light & spicy, delicately textured... The soup is traditional to southern India and can be varied with the addition or deletion or mix n match of ingredients!I have tasted Rasam prepared in almost all the South Indian style-Kerala,Telugu,Kannada & Tamil and I think I should say that we have to give the credit to the Tamil Rasam... Well basically there isnt much difference...probably it was the 'kaipunyam' of the Tamil mami who cooked it!!

I suppose Tamil, Telugu & Kannadigas are more in love with Rasam, ...For Keralites Rasam often makes a guest appearance!!...in a 'sadya', the traditional banquet,or when ill, having fever n cold or having indigestion problems and dont feel like eating anything, or when they are too lazy to do anything else...But one has to agree that this spicy tangy Rasam is just classy!Rasam is traditionally cooked in an alloy vessel(Eeeya pathram);it is said to add taste to the rasam but modern science doesnt really advise us to do so...One should be careful while using this vessel, for, it melts when on fire...a melting pot!

Chaaru, in Telugu or Saaru in Kannada, means "essence," and,on improvisation means, "juice" or "soup." In the olden days it was prepared mainly with black pepper and tamarind, the ingredients native to and abundant in Tamil Nadu and South India in general. Tamil Iyengars, called it in the earlier days 'Chaathamudhu' (Chaaru + Amudhu, the Tamil form of Amrit (ambrosia)).Sourashtras, an immigrant community living in Madurai from the 16th century, still call it Pulichaar (Puli = Tamarind + Chaar)....Finally it became the Rasam.

Rasam offers plenty of variety based on ingredients and based on regional variations.
Tomato rasam,Lemon rasam,Veppampoo (neem flower) rasam,Pepper rasam,Dal rasam,Seeraga Rasam(Cumin rasam),Ginger rasam,Kandathippilli rasam,Mysore rasam, Madras Rasam etc etc...You can try any combination of these various rasams.

Here I should mention that Saaru in Karnataka is a little bit different from the Rasam in Tamil Nadu or Chaaru in Andhra.It has thicker consistency, and a lot more varied ingredients are added along with saarina pudi (powder) .Kannadiga's eat it along with main course and has a lot of varieties for it like:

Milagu Saaru - the Mulligatawny soup in the west! (milagu = pepper, tanneer = water).
Kozhi Chaaru - A Chettinad speciality made with chicken broth.
Tomato Saaru - with tomato puree as main ingredient.
Tamarind Saaru - The most common version made with tamarind juice.
Hesaru Kaalu Saaru - Green gram soup.
Pappu Chaaru - Common variant made with pulses and tomato stock.
Bellary Saaru - With toor dal, coconut & tamarind juice.
Vankaaya Chaaru - Eggplant & tamarind juice.
Majjiga Chaaru - Soup made with seasoned buttermilk.
Ulava Chaaru - Horse gram soup.
Kattu saaru - Kattu refers to the water drained from the cooked dal.
Kattina saaru - a semi-sweet rasam using jaggery.
Jeerige saaru - made with jeera, cumin.
HuraLi saaru - another healthy rasam made with horse-gram.
Mysore Rasam - A fragrant soup made with fried grams/dals.
Bus Saaru - Deriving its name from "busodu" (Kannada), which is the act of draining water from boiled vegetables/greens/lentils.
Kundapura koli saaru - a spicy regional variant.
Kottambari jeerige Saaru - made with coriander and cumin seeds.
Kadale Saaru - Soaked black chickpeas, coconut and ginger.
Alasunde Saaru - Black eyed beans and potato, coconut and ginger.

Now coming back to our simple rasam...here are a few recipes, Well these are the recipes that I could gather from my research on Rasam...I would like to say here that the credit goes to the following links. My intention is only to compile a few of the rasam varieties here:

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  • Tomato Rasam

    Ingredients:
    Tur Daal(Red gram)-3-4 tbsp.
    4 large tomatoes (finely chopped)
    1/2 tsp. Garlic pounded
    1-inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
    21/2 cups water
    1tsp Garlic grated
    1 or 2 green chilies finely chopped
    Coriander leaves finely chopped
    Salt to taste chili or pepper powder to taste.
    1/2tsp. turmeric powder
    1tsp. mustard seeds
    1tsp. cumin seeds
    1-2 whole dried red chili (halved)
    A pinch asafoetida
    Few curry leaves
    2tbsp. oil

    Method:
    Pick, wash and pressure cook the daal and keep side.
    Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried chili and asafetida.
    When mustard seeds start to splutter add garlic, ginger, tomatoes and green chilies.
    Add salt, chilli & turmeric powder and a cup of water.
    Simmer for 5-6 minutes and add the cooked daal and 1 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil.
    Serve hot, garnished with corriander leaves.

    Neem Rasam

    neemflower - 3 tsp,
    Dry red chili - 2 ,
    mustard - 1 tsp,
    salt - 3/4 tsp,
    asafoetida - 1/4 tsp,
    ghee - 3 tsp.,
    tamarind - lime size

    Take ghee in a sauce pan, add mustard seeds. When it splutters, add asafoetida, dry red chilli, and 3 tsp dried neem flower(veppamboo). Add tamarind juice to this and bring to boil. Add water to make the liquid about 3 cups. Add 1/4 tsp rasam powder.Add 3 bunches of curry leaves.

    Mysore Rasam

    Ingredients

    corriander (seeds) 500 g
    red Chillies (long) 100 g
    split bengal gram (chick pea) 100 g
    split black gram 100 g
    peppar 25 g
    cumin 15 g
    fenugreek 10 g
    cinnamon 5 g
    asafoetida 5 g
    oil 4 table spoons


    Heat the oil in a pan and put in the asafoetida first. Then add all the other ingredients and roast till the chillies turn crisp and the other ingredients turn golden brown. To roast all the ingredients evenly the flame should be medium high. Keep the roasted ingredients aside to cool. Then grind them to a fine powder in a mixer.

    This powder can be added to a number of dishes. But the most important item that is made with this powder is 'Mysore Rasam'.

    Method:

    Cook about 250 gm of split gram (pigeon pea) with a pinch of turmeric powder. Add this powder, tamarind paste and salt to the cooked dal.
    Boil for 10 mts.
    Dilute the cooked split gram according to the preferred consistency by adding water. In South India it is prepared as a thin liquid which can be drunk from a glass.
    Season the liquid. Roast a teaspoon of mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a spoonful of oil and add it to the Rasam. A pinch of asafoetida can also be added.
    Add curry leaves and chopped green coriander for additional flavour.

    Madras Rasam

    Ingredients

    coriander (seeds) 100 g
    split gram (pigeon pea) 50 g
    split bengal gram (chick pea) 10 g
    pepper 25 g
    cumin 10 g
    red chillies 10 g

    Dry all the ingredients in the sun and grind them to a powder. Store in an airtight container.

    This powder is used for preparing Madras Rasam which is similar to soup.

    Method

    1. Cook split gram (pigeon pea) and take the diluted dal water. [You can cook the dal, take the dal water from the top for this Rasam and use the thick dal for Sambar.]
    2. In a pan take tablespoon oil and roast a teaspoon of mustard and cumin. A pinch of asafoetida can also be added.
    3. When the mustard and cumin pop up and crackle, add a few tomatoes cut into small pieces.
    4. Add a pinch of turmeric powder, salt to taste, the Madras Rasam powder and roast for two to three minutes.
    5. Add the dal water.
    6. Boil for 5 mts.
    7. Add curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves for additional flavour.


    Seeragam Rasam

    Ingredients

    cumin 50 gm
    split gram (pigeon pea) 25 gm
    peppar 15 gm
    red Chillies (long) 4
    asafoetida a pinch

    Powder all the ingredients together. There is no need to roast them. The powder can be preserved in an airtight container for 6 months.

    This powder can be added to a number of dishes. But the most important item that is made with this powder is 'Seeragam Rasam'.

    Method

    1. You can prepare this Rasam with or without dal. To prepare this with dal water, cook about 50 gm of split gram (pigeon pea) with a pinch of turmeric powder and take its diluted water. To prepare this without dal just take a cup of water in a pan.
    2. Soak tamarind in water and squeeze out its essence.
    3. Add this powder, tamarind essence, salt to taste and a pinch of turmeric powder.
    4. Boil for 10 mts.
    5. Season the liquid. Roast a teaspoon of mustard seeds and cumin seeds in a spoonful of oil and add it to the Rasam. A pinch of asafoetida can also be added.
    6. Add curry leaves and chopped green coriander for additional flavour.

    Milagu Rasam/Miriyalu Rasam/Kurumulaku Rasam/PepperRasam

    Ingredients

    split bengal gram (chick pea) 50 g
    split black gram 50 g
    peppar 10 g
    red Chillies (long) 2
    asafoetida 5 g
    ghee 1 table spoon


    Roast all the ingredients in ghee on slow fire till the chillies turn crisp and the other ingredients turn golden brown. To roast all the ingredients evenly the flame should be medium high. Keep the roasted ingredients aside to cool. Then grind them to a fine powder in a mixer.

    This powder can be added to a number of dishes. But the most important item that is made with this powder is 'Milagu Rasam'.

    Method

    1. Cook about 250 gm of split gram (pigeon pea) with a pinch of turmeric powder.
    2. Add this powder and salt to the cooked dal.
    3. Boil for 10 mts.
    4. Dilute the cooked split gram according to the preferred consistency by adding water. In South India it is prepared as a thin liquid which can be drunk from a glass.
    5. Add curry leaves for additional flavour.
    6. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice (optional).
    7. Add a tablespoon of milk (optional).

    You can choose whether to add milk or lemon juice or leave out both. The taste will differ in each case. Usually a lemon cut to pieces is served with this Rasam so that those who prefer to add it can do so.

    This powder can be ground to a paste with grated coconut and added to cooked split gram and vegetables. Then it is called 'Koottu'. Usually vegetables like snake gourd and white brinjals also called bangalore brinjals are prepared in this manner.

    This powder can also be mixed with rice and eaten. Then it is called Milagu Sadam.

    Milagu Sadam

    1. Take a cup of cooked rice.
    2. Add this powder and salt when the rice is hot.
    3. Add a teaspoon of ghee and mix well.
    4. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice (optional).

    Milagu Sadam has an exotic taste and the amount of ghee added can be varied according to individual preferences as to how spicy or bland the dish should be. Instead of adding the lemon juice to the rice, a lemon cut to pieces can be served along with the rice so that those who prefer to add it can do so.

    Lemon rasamIngredients:

    Lemon - 1 or 2 (to one's taste)

    Red gram dhal - A handful

    Water - 2 tumblers

    Tomato - 1

    Rasam powder - 2 tbsp

    Salt - To taste

    Coriander & curry leaves - finely chopped

    Mustard & jeera - for seasoning

    Asafoetida - A pinch

    Method :


    Mash tomato nicely to pulp, add water and boil the mixture. Cook red gram dhal separately in a vessel and keep aside. Add the cooked dhal to the boiling tomato mixture. Add more water and let it boil.

    After a few minutes, add rasam powder to this boiling tomato-dhal mixture and add salt. Reduce the flame to minimum. When the rasam comes to a boil, add the chopped coriander and curry leaves.

    Don't overboil and remove the rasam from fire. Add a little cooking oil to a pan and heat it. When the oil gets heated up, add mustard and a little jeera for seasoning. When the mustard seeds splutter, remove from fire and add to the rasam. Close the vessel with a tight lid.

    Don't squeeze in the lemon juice while the rasam is hot. It will turn bitter. The juice should not be added while it is boiling also. Add the juice 15 minutes before serving and your delicious lemon rasam is ready.

    To make this type of rasam, tamarind is not necessary.

    Note: This is a very easy way of making rasam and instead of rasam powder, one can fry and grind red gram dhal, coriander seeds, asafoetida, Bengal gram dhal, red chillies, pepper and jeera.


    Dal Rasam

    Ingredients:

    ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
    1 tsp jeera
    12 pepper corns
    1 tbsp (heaped) coriander seeds
    1 piece turmeric
    ¼ pav toovar dal
    salt to taste
    a piece asafoetida (bengal gram size)
    4 red chillies
    2 sprigs curry leaves
    1 tsp oil
    ½ bunch coriander leaves
    2 green chillies.
    4 tsp ghee
    1 tamarind lump (marble size)

    Method:

    Put oil in frying pan.
    Roast fenugreek, cumin, pepper, coriander, turmeric, asafoetida, 1 tsp toovar dal, red chillies and curry leaves with oil, in the same sequence, till it becomes brown.
    Powder the roasted ingredients together in mixer.
    Put the washed toovar dal in boiling water. Cook till half done.
    Put slit green chillies and boil well.
    Put salt to taste and chopped coriander leaves.
    Take out juice from tamarind in a bowl.
    Combine the above rasam powder and put the mixture to boiling toovar dal.
    Cook till done. Season with mustard and curry leaves in ghee.
    Put coriander leaf bits. Cover the vessel.

    So...what have you decided? Sappidreengala??

    3 comments:

    MAJ K said...

    Here is another blog post about Rasam : http://tastymistake.blogspot.com/2007/02/rasam.html

    Malar Gandhi said...

    Great work. I miss mommy's vepampoo rasam!

    indianadoc said...

    >thanx maj for sending the link
    >thanx malar for the compliments...yes ntg cn match our mother's recipes