Category Archives: Soups | Appetizers

♧ LEMON RASAM | LENTIL SOUP ♧

Lemon Rasam would be my signature dish, if I open a restaurant, (yes, a dream, agreed, so why not I dream big?) Let me make that a 7 star hotel (Burj Al Arab, you got competition)
Both the older one and I love Lemon Rasam, probably genes, not helping though, when both of us reach for more (especially, when we fish out the tomatoes, once again, genes at play). She invariably wins, when she pulls a low one and says ” But Maa, you are the parent here!”. Tired of hearing our regular squabbles over the dining table for Rasam, Pa intervened and suggested, why not make Lemon Rasam in a bigger vessel. Simple as that. Now why didn’t I think of it earlier?!
My mother says that, my Lemon Rasam tastes like her mothers. Trust me, there can be no bigger compliment than that!

Prep time : 10 mins; Cooking time : 20 mins; Serves : 4-6

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Lemon Rasam bubbling away in the new big vessel

Ingredients :

  • Red Gram Lentil / Toovar Dal – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 5 cups
  • Tomatoes (local country / wine ripe variety) – 3 or Cherry tomatoes (lend a hint of sweet taste) – 9 -15
  • Green chilies – 2
  • Ginger – 1 inch
  • Garlic (optional, if one is observing a fast otherwise, highly recommended) – 1 whole bulb
  • Lemon – 1
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing – a pinch
  • Ghee / Sesame Oil – 1 tsp
  • Rock Salt – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – 3 sprigs
  • Curry leaves – 7 – 9

Method :

1. Wash and rinse the lentils and pressure cook them really soft with about 1 1/2 cups of water upto 4 whistles. Roughly mash them with the back of a ladle and set aside.
2. Chop the tomatoes into 1/2 inch squares, keep them whole, if they are cherry tomatoes. Chop green chilies and ginger into fine pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and chop them into fine pieces. Add these to 2 cups of water and cook on low flame for about 9 -10 mins.
3. Once the tomatoes soften, add the mashed lentils, salt and 1 1/2 cups of water and boil for another 9 – 10 mins till you see a layer of froth as you boil the lentils.
4. Meanwhile, dry roast 1 tsp cumin seeds till light brown in colour and grind them along with pepper. Add it to the boiling broth or add Rasam Podi | Powder and cook for another 5 mins. Switch off the heat.
6. Heat Ghee / Sesame oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and Hing. After it splutters, temper the Rasam with it.
7. Squeezing the lemon when the Rasam is very hot, may tend to make it bitter. After about 5 mins, once it is a bit cool, squeeze the lemon juice into the Rasam. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and curry leaves.

Piping hot Lemon Rasam can be had along with rice or as an appetizer soup. Enjoy!

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Lentil Clear Soup in a bowl

♧ PULI RASAM | TAMARIND RASAM ♧

Rasam is a comfort food and can be categorized as a soup or an entree, of a typical South Indian Meals menu. An incredibly popular dish (in fact, sharing this recipe on reader requests). It never ceases to fascinates me, that Rasam is common, standard, routine, ordinary yet so very amazing at the same time!

Puli Rasam | Tamarind Rasam is a healthy appetizer soup which is sour, tangy, peppery, delicious, fragrant, warm, soothing, cosy,  zingy experience – all at the same time!

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Tempered Tamarind Rasam

Prep time : 10 mins; Cooking time : 20 mins; Serves : 4-6

Ingredients :

  • Red Gram Lentil | Toovar Dal – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 5 cups
  • Tomatoes (local country / wine ripe variety) – 3 or Cherry tomatoes (lend a hint of sweet taste) – 9 -15
  • Whole Tamarind without seeds – a small gooseberry sized ball
  • Garlic (optional, if one is observing a fast otherwise, highly recommended) – 1 whole bulb
  • Sambar Podi | Powder – 1 tsp
  • Rasam Podi | Powder – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida | Hing – a pinch
  • Ghee | Sesame Oil – 1 tsp
  • Rock Salt – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – 3 sprigs
  • Curry leaves – 7 – 9

Method :

1. Wash and rinse the lentils and pressure cook them really soft with about 1 1/2 cups of water upto 4 whistles. Roughly mash them with the back of a ladle and set aside.
2. Soak the tamarind in 1 1/2 cups of hot water for 15 mins, Squeeze the tamarind well, discard the pulp and strain out the tamarind juice.Chop the tomatoes into 1/2 inch squares, if they are cherry tomatoes, keep them whole. Peel the garlic cloves and mince them into fine pieces. Add the tomatoes, garlic and Sambar Podi | Powder to the tamarind water and cook on low flame for about 9 -10 mins.
3. Once the raw smell of the tamarind, Sambar Podi | Powder go away and also the tomatoes soften, add the mashed lentils, salt and 2 cups of water and boil for another 9 – 10 mins.
4. Add Rasam Podi | Powder to the broth and cook till the distinct aroma of the Rasam podi | Powder  fills the kitchen, about 5 mins, till you see a layer of froth as you boil the lentils. Switch off the heat.
6. Heat Ghee / Sesame oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and Hing. After it splutters, temper the Rasam with it.
7. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and curry leaves. (yes, yet again – since these leaves grow easily in our tropical climate and are available fresh throughout the year, they make their appearance, in most Indian dishes)

Variation :

Goddu Rasam | Dhidir Rasam | Instant Rasam

To prepare Goddu Rasam, skip the Red gram Lentil | Toovar Dal and follow the above recipe. This variation of Puli rasam | Tamarind Rasam is also called ‘Dhidir Rasam’ meaning Instant Rasam in some households, as it is quick to prepare. This warm soup, light to digest, is welcome during monsoons or invariably when a family member, might be convalescing due to change of weather.

Piping hot Puli Rasam | Tamarind Rasam can be had along with rice or as an appetizer soup. Bon appetite!

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Puli Rasam |Tamarind Rasam|Lentil Soup

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