How to Make Lemon Rasam
Rasam is a traditional south Indian preparation, of which many variations are cooked in various regions across India. A basic lentil rasam involves use of split pigeon peas (tuvar dal) which is cooked and brought to a boil with a specific spice mixture called ‘rasam powder’ along with tamarind extract and tomatoes; which is then tempered with mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves spluttered in ghee.
With lemon rasam, the variation in the cooking process is the use of lemon instead of tamarind to bring in the tang and the preparation also does not require the ‘rasam powder’, adding a different dimension to the meal. This will taste slightly different to the regular rasam. Do bear that in mind.
The aroma of freshly cooked rasam is enough to bring many down to their knees (more so if they are hungry!). Some varieties of rasam can even be consumed as soup. It is however, traditionally consumed paired with steaming hot rice, along with a vegetable accompaniment called ‘palya’.
Rasam with rice provides a light refreshing meal. Often served as the second course during a formal south Indian meal, whilst on the other hand, it is a firm favorite as main course at dinner times in everyday cooking.
Let’s go through the method as to how to make lemon rasam.
This recipe is adapted from the author Chandra Padmanabhan’s recipe.
tuval dal – 1/4 cup (split pigeon peas)
turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
tomatoes – 2 chopped fine
green chili – 2 – 4 chopped (use as per taste; I used 2)
ginger – 1 inch piece shredded
cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
whole peppercorns – 3/4 tsp
lemon juice – 8-9 tsp (use as per taste)
fresh coriander chopped – 2 tbsp for garnish
salt to taste
ghee – 2 tsp
mustard seeds – 1 tsp
asafoetida – 1/2 tsp (hing) (avoid asafoetida if on a gluten-free diet)
dry red chili – 1 halved
curry leaves – 4-5
- tuval dal - ¼ cup (split pigeon peas)
- turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- tomatoes - 2 chopped fine
- green chili - 2 - 4 chopped (use as per taste; I used 2)
- ginger - 1 inch piece shredded
- cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- whole peppercorns - ¾ tsp
- lemon juice - 8-9 tsp (use as per taste)
- fresh coriander chopped - 2 tbsp for garnish
- salt to taste
- for tempering:
- ghee - 2 tsp
- mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- asafoetida - ½ tsp (hing) (avoid asafoetida if on a gluten-free diet)
- dry red chili - 1 halved
- curry leaves - 4-5
- firstly wash the tuvar dal adding water and draining it twice. the adding 1 cup of fresh water, turmeric powder, place in the pressure cooker and cook until mushy. i.e at the first whistle, simmer and cook for 10 minutes. switich off the heat. allow it to cool naturally.
- meanwhile, using a spice grinder jar (the smaller jar of the mixer/grinder) firstly powder the cumin and peppercorns. keep this aside.
- using the same jar, now grind the green chilies and ginger to form a sort of minced paste. keep this ready until needed.
- once the dal is cooked, run a whisk through it to mash it evenly.
- in a pot, add 1 & ½ cups of water, add chopped tomatoes and bring it to a boil.
- to this add the cooked dal, minced ginger green chili mixture, salt to taste and bring it to a boil. (add more water if desired)
- prepare the tempering by heating the ghee in a small pan. add mustard seeds, allow them to splutter. now add the asafoetida, the cumin-pepper powder, curry leaved, red chili and turn off the heat.
- transfer the tempering onto the rasam.
- once you turn off the heat for the rasam, add the lemon juice, fresh coriander chopped.
- serve with hot rice and some ghee.