MOTHER OF SOUPS!
The 'Rasam' (tamarind soup) is a delightfully tangy and medium spicy concoction that is often served with rice or savored as a soup. Originating from southern part of India, it is a staple for most. It gets the name from the word 'Rasa' which is 'extract' in Sanskrit. Made with tempering tamarind extract, tomatoes and spices, the broth is a typical sort of vegetarian soup. A treat for the senses with its distinct sour and peppery flavour.
Photos (above and below): By author
The soup is also dense in nutrition, as a result, the British colonizers in India, adopted it as a pungent soup called Mulligatawny. Rasam facilitates clean bowel and helps in digestion and is excellent for clogged chest with phlegm. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, copper and magnesium and is highly recommended by fnbworld.com for cold or flu for its medicinal value. Rasam is a body-warmer and comforting, perfect for this time of year and is insanely delicious!
Ingredients (serves up to 4)
• Split lentils – a spoonful of moong dal (split mung beans) or Toor dal (split yellow peas)
• Tamarind (seedless) – Small gooseberry size
• Tomatoes – 2
• Turmeric powder – 1/2tsp
• Curry leaves – 1 sprig
• Coriander leaves
• Ghee/ Oil – 1 tblsp
• Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
• ½ tsp each of coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder
• Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
• 4-5 ground peppercorns
• Garlic – 2-3 cloves
• 3-4 dried red chillies
• Salt to taste
• Optional - Drumsticks (horseradish tree)
Begin by soaking tamarind in hot water for 30 mins, extract its juice by straining it, discard the tamarind flesh and keep aside. Also soak the split lentils for an hour. Take a pot and put in your choice of oil or ghee (recommended – Coconut oil). Addasafoetida, soaked split lentils, crushed garlic, dried red chillies, ground peppercorn, and mustard seeds to the oil and let them sputter.Chop tomatoes roughly and add them to the oil with a pinch of salt and cook until soft.
Add the tamarind extract, turmeric, coriander powder and chilli powder along with the curry leaves. If you want to add drumsticks, add 2 inch long sticks to the pot at this stage.Mix well and cook for five minutes. Add 3-4 cups water and let it boil.Garnish with cilantro and serve hot as a soup or with rice and poppadums. Go try it soon!
Ridhi Chhabra is a media professional and an alumni of the FTII, Pune, pursuing her Masters at mass communication. She blogs at: ridhich habra.wordpress.com