Garlic Tomato Rasam
Our BLOG HOP theme for the week is ‘Rasam’.
The light, comforting, soul satisfying mystical blend of spices with a tomato and or/or tamarind tang brings forth what we call in South India as RASAM.
Wikipedia describes it as a south Indian soup traditionally prepared using tamarind juice as a base with the addition of tomato, chili pepper, whole peppercorns, cumin and other spices. Steamed lentils, vegetables are added to certain varieties.
Rasam is thinner in consistency as opposed to the well known ‘Sambar’. Served traditionally with rice as the second course after sambar-rice , followed by curd-rice (plain yogurt with rice).
It is described in Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems), that well-being is a balance between mind, body and spirit and is not based entirely around nutritious food intake, but also needs to be complemented by well-being of the mind as described here.
Ayurveda describes rasam or saaru as providing a feeling of complete satisfaction on completion of a meal owing to the ingredients used as also the manner of preparation(blend of spices) and consumption(with rice and ghee) as described here. It is also easily digestible.
to name some medicinal properties of the ingredients used here
- firstly coriander is said to be an appetizer, digestive and taste stimulator. It is said to act as a cardiotonic and diuretic also. So it not only provides taste and flavor, it also acts as a cleanser of the system.
Next the pepper, provides the heat, taste as also acts as an anti-toxic against the parasites in the intestine.
Cumin is the soul of the formulation, promotes metabolism and prevents gas formation during digestion, prevents constipation and acts as a cleanser.
If you wish to learn more about the beneficial properties of rasam, please read here.
The kinds of rasam I have grown up eating such as – kattu saaru (thin lentil preparation without rasam powder being used) , goddu saaru (rasam without the lentils), bele saaru (rasam with lentils, tamarind and tomato with rasam powder) are all firm family favorites. Saaru meaning rasam in Kannada (south Indian language).
The following recipe is Garlic Tomato Rasam. As the name suggests, along with the aromatic spices, the predominant flavours here are those of garlic and tomato.
This recipe was inspired by the recipe here. I added my own touches to suit our family. My kids enjoyed it very much and said I should experiment in this manner more often!
- For the spice mixture>>
- 2 mild dry red chilies
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon oil
- For the rasam>>
- 2 small tomatoes *
- 10-12 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed; 2-4 of them finely chopped
- 1 small gooseberry size tamarind pulp *
- 3 teaspoons jaggery (or more as per taste)
- Salt to taste
- For the tempering>>
- 1 - 2 teaspoon ghee
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 6-8 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped for garnish
- Soak the tamarind pulp in 1 cup of water for 15minutes.
- Make superficial cuts over the base of each tomato in the form of a cross.
- Boil 2 -3 cups of water in a pot. Add these tomatoes and cook them for about 30 seconds or until you notice the peel coming off the tomatoes. (blanching)
- Then pour out the hot water, add cold water. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to touch, peel them.
- Now add the blanched tomatoes to the mixer/blender and make a puree.
- Strain this puree to remove seeds and thicker bits.
- In a pan, heat ½ teaspoon of oil, add the spices mentioned such as the dry red chilies, whole peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and roast at medium heat until they turn a darker shade and a good aroma emanates. Take care not to burn.
- Allow the spices to cool, then grind them to a fine powder using a spice grinder/coffee grinder or a powerful blender.
- Now, to the same pot used for blanching the tomatoes, add the puree.
- Extract the juice from the soaked tamarind and add the tamarind water extract to the pot, bring it to a boil, cook until the raw flavor of the tamarind disappears.
- Then add the ground spice powder, bring it to a good boil again adding 1 more cup of water, salt, crushed garlic, and jaggery.
- Prepare tempering by heating 1 teaspoon of ghee in a separate tempering pan.
- Once the ghee heats up, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Add curry leaves. Turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the rasam.
Also adjust the quantity of jaggery needed to suit your taste.
Make sure to boil the rasam well so that the flavours become well incorporated, the spices soften and get cooked.
At first I added 4-5 garlic pods, but the predominance of other flavors meant I needed to add more. You can taste and add accordingly.
Recipes from this week’s blog hop from other awesome bloggers –