Monday, March 7, 2011

Koottu Rasam

I am a big rasam lover. Rasam is the first "dish" I learnt to make. Which isn't a very big feat considering how easy rasam is to make usually. Nevermind that I only learnt later that it is possible to screw up making rasam too (some people really can't cook - such is life).

Anyhoo, the most time consuming part of making rasam is boiling the tur dal to put in it. It is only a small quantity of dal which goes into rasam but still I feel that it is a must for the rasam-y taste I like.

Thus, I was thrilled when I came upon this rasam recipe on my cousin's blog which included tur dal but did not require separate boiling of the same.

Brief digression (and plug) - that blog has authentic recipes from the Kumbakonam area of Tamilnadu. My cousin's mom is a great cook and my lucky cousin has inherited those genes. Furthermore, he has been patiently and painstakingly putting down the recipes (from paper and through the telephone) onto a blog. Check those out!

I made some minor changes to the original koottu rasam recipe. Here is my version.

Koottu Rasam
Steaming koottu rasam

Ingredients (enough rasam for 4-5):


To roast and grind:
Tur Dal, 2 tsp
Red chilies, 2
Whole black pepper, 1 tsp
Cumin, 1 tsp
Garlic, 2 cloves, peeled

Roast all of the above without oil and grind into a coarse powder.

Base:
Water, 4 cups
Tamarind, gooseberry sized ball
Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp
Tomato, 1 medium, crushed into a pulp using hands
Salt to taste

Extract the tamarind and then mix with the rest of the base ingredients

To season
Mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp
Urad dal, 1/2 tsp
Green chilli, 1 small, split vertically
A pinch of asafoetida
Curry leaves, 1 sprig
Oil, 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves, 1 tbsp, chopped

Method:
1. Add the coarsely ground powder to the base and mix well.
2. Heat a sauce-pan on medium, add the mixture from step 1 and bring to a boil.
3. In a separate seasoning pan, add oil, urad dal, green chilli and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to crackle, add asafoetida and curry leaves in quick succession and add the entire contents of the seasoning pan to the boiling mixture from step 2.
4. Turn off heat, check for salt, garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice.

Notes
1. Coriander leaves give a lovely aroma to rasam. Try not to skip them unless you have to!


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