Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mysore Rasam

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My earliest association with south indian food begins with my mom. She spent a good part of her childhood in South India. Mom learned a lot of cooking from her grandparents and from her andhra neighbors -  various types of sambhars, rice, idli, dosas were very popular with her. 
When we were kids, aai would often cook bisi-beli bhath, lemon rice , mango rice and serve them up with tales from her childhood. We loved listening to her stories, her eyes full of pride and excitement. She told us about the huge bunglow they lived in, the mango tree in the backyard from where they would pick close to a thousand mangoes every year, the pet hens and how she searched for the eggs in the nest and then sell the eggs making no profit, about the dog in the house that would eat sambhar and rice and went mad one fine day. Yes, I have heard these and many other stories almost a hundred times.Those were happy days she would say. 
So when I visit Pune, next time I am sure to make this Rasam for my mom. To have it with some dosas or idli accompanied with generous helping of her stories of course ! This recipe is from the book Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan. 

Mysore Rasam
(From Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan)

1/2 C toor dal (cooked and set aside)
Tamarind Juice from a lemon sized ball of tamarind
2 tbsp fresh or dry coconut
1 tbsp store bought rasam powder or mysore rasam powder (recipe below)
1 tomato finely chopped 
1 inch piece of  jaggery
1 tsp turmeric powder
cilantro to garnish

For the paste :
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chillies 
2 tbsp dry or fresh coconut
-Grind the above to a paste with very little water and set aside

For tempering :
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves

Mysore Rasam Powder
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreel seeds
5-6 curry leaves
3-4 dry red chilles
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
-- Roast the above spices till warm and aromatic. Blend into a fine powder.
This makes masala enough for the above quantity of rasam.

oil as required
salt to taste

How to :-
  • Over medium heat combine the oil and ingredients for tempering.
  • Once the mustard splutters, add the tomatoes and saute till pulpy. Add the turmeric powder and the tamarind juice.
  • Let this mixture cook for a 15-20min. If it becomes too dry add some water.
  • Then add the cooked dal and jaggery and mix well. Thin the rasam as required by adding water.
  • Add salt and taste.
  • Add the paste and get the rasam to a boil. Garnish with cilantro.
  • Cover and open only when ready to serve.

The rest time makes the rasam all the more tasty so make this well ahead of time.
The recipes in the book use a whole lot of curry leaves so I am seriously considering planting a curry leaf  plant in my patio. :)

We are approaching a long weekend. Hope the weather provides some relief and we get to enjoy some of the outdoors.Have a good weekend !!