Friday, December 20, 2013

Rasam - arsenal to fight the cold

Yes, another rasam. I am down again with a bout of cold and cough, guess it had to happen, what with the temperature changes we went through from all the travelling in the past 15 days. Nothing much tastes nice at this time and all I can taste is super hot and spicy stuff. This time round I am going all out with antibiotics, cough syrup, steaming, lots of honey and ginger paste, hot water to drink and of course Rasam. When I spoke with my aunty a couple of days ago, she told me to make a concoction of a few spices and cook it till it reduces to half and drink it down. Else add the spices with tomato and make a rasam of it. She did ask me to use kokum if possible, but I couldn't find my stash of kokum however much I searched for it. So my version has tamarind but if you have kokum use it.
Tuwar Dal - 1/4 cup
Tomato - 2
Ginger - 1.5 inch
Garlic - 8 to 10
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Black peppercorns - 1 tbsp (more if you can take it)
Coriander sprigs - 5 to 6
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Tamarind - 1 marble sized ball
Salt as per taste
for seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 4 to 5
Oil - 1 tsp
Wash and pressure cook the dal till cooked well and keep aside. Soak tamarind in water.
Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns lightly till it aromas are released. Powder this in mortar with a pestle / silbatta. Once powdered add the ginger and garlic to this and continue crushing till all this comes together.

Take a sauce pan and add a cup of water and this ground mixture and put it on high heat. Stir it and let it boil till it starts to reduce. Then add 2 cups of water, the chopped tomatoes, 1 to 2 sprigs of coriander, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and cover with a lid and cook on low heat. When the tomatoes are cooked add the tamarind pulp, a pinch of salt and mix well. Add more water if required and add the coriander sprigs. Let it boil once and take it off heat and keep covered.
Heat a small pan and add the oil and when hot add the mustard seeds. When it splutters, take the pan off heat and add the curry leaves and immediately pour into the rasam.

This rasam is meant to open up all those blocked channels and make your nose drip and your brow sweat. So add more spice if you think you can handle it. Have a soupy Rasam and rice in a bowl or just sip it hot, burning down your throat.

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