I love rasam. It is plain and simple, the best comfort food. A good rasam reminds me of the time I had at my friends’s house. A good rasam is very easy to make and can be enjoyed as a simple pre-appetizer or a palate cleanser. There are many variations of rasam and this recipe will talk about using lemon to make this dish. I hope you enjoy making and eating it.
Now my love affair with rasam started when I first dined on this amazing rasam at my friend’s house. She is one of the closest friend I have, dating back to the school days. I still remember this one time when I returned from the states, her mother invited me to her house for lunch. Now it is customary in India to sit down and feel the connection to earth while eating. So I followed that custom and instead of sitting on the dining table, I crouched down and did “padmasan” (criss cross, apple sauce) in front of my plate.
Since rasam is like a palate cleanser it is served as the last course before the curd rice. (South India courses have the last entree′ as the curd rice before dessert). But aunty’s rasam is one of my favorite and I eat that as my first entree′. The taste was unbeatable and brought back all my school days memories!
Anyway, lets take a hiatus from the journey to my memory lane and get back to the recipe. You do need fresh lemons for this since that is what provides the tartness required for rasam.
Lemon – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander leaves – small bunch
Toor dal – 1/2 cup cooked
Rasam powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Coconut oil or ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Ginger – 2 inches
Fresh black peppercorns – 10 nos (more if you like it hotter)
Cumin seeds – 2 tsps
Coriander seeds – 2 tsps
Asoefetida(hing) – pinch
Tomatoes – 2 nos
Salt to tast
Except the tomatoes, grind all the ingredients listed above to grind. Once you have a decent consistency, add the tomatoes. Pour this into a pot and add the turmeric and rasam powder. Let it boil until the raw smell of the rasam powder is gone (approx 5 – 10 mins).
Cook the toor dal until it is mush. Add the ghee or coconut oil to a small wok and heat it. Add the mustard seeds and let it sputter. Once that’s done, add curry leaves to this and then toss all the tempering to the above rasam mixture. Add the cooked toor dal as well. Salt to taste. Let the whole thing cool for some time and then add the lemon juice freshly squeezed. I like my rasam tangier, so I add atleast 1.5 halves of lemon to the rasam. You can alter the lemon to your taste. Top it with fresh coriander leaves and serve with piping hot rice and ghee.