Queen of rasam

No different Indian dish can declare to have medicinal worth in every of its components. That honour belongs to the common-or-garden rasam (that means: essence). No marvel, then, that rasam has emerged as the preferred dish throughout COVID-19 lockdown.

“Apart from being the only dish, one can put together rasam with minimal components, and it may be had as soup or combined with rice and eaten. But making ready rasam requires information, experience and expertise,” says 64-year-old Usha Prabhakaran, writer of the soon-to-be-launched Rasam Digest, a ebook with 1,000 completely different rasam recipes.

A lawyer by career, Usha shot to fame in 1998, when her Pickle Digest, a ebook with 1,000 pickle recipes, was revealed. “Actually, I collected almost 3000 recipes but I had to pick 1000 [for the book],” says Usha, who bought the ‘Pickle Queen’ moniker quickly after. “Over time, I have developed the knack of extracting recipes from anyone and everyone I come across,” provides Usha, who credit her mother-in-law, Chandra Lakshmi, for lighting her ardour for cooking, who on the age of 83 nonetheless actively engages herself in cooking in addition to purchasing for components. The nuances I learnt from her however the quite a few ideas and tips I gathered over a interval of time, Usha says.

The ebook has sections like Modest Pleasures (rasam from plant stems, leaves and rind-based), Hard to Resist Residual Wonder (rasam made with the residue of chutney or thogayal) and Quick Serves (instantaneous rasam), Dynamic Diet, Heritage Sustenance, Physician at your Door, Dazzling Superstars, amongst others.

Achieving vital mass

For an ideal rasam, balancing the tamarind (sourness), including spices and seasoning, which helps lock the flavour in, is vital. “Sourness might be derived from tamarind, tomato, bitter buttermilk or simply dal water,” says Usha, including that rasam matches everybody’s finances, might be ready with minimal components, or if one or two of the fundamental components usually are not out there. Basic components might be interchanged if one is unavailable, like moong dal might be swapped for toor dal. The dish might be ready, tasted and altered to your required style all via the method of cooking. Most importantly, it’s a medicinal preparation that performs a major function all through a person’s life from beginning to previous age, says Usha, including, “Which is why I’ve devoted a bit within the ebook to age-appropriate rasams, titled Birth to Adulthood.”

Rasam might be made out of virtually something. “Have you ever tasted pea peel rasam, or betel leaf rasam? How about jamoon rasam? Did you realize that we are able to make rasam utilizing jackfruit seed, watermelon rind, kodukkapuli, hibiscus flower and bamboo shoot?,” she asks.

Even peels and plant stems, that are often discarded, can be utilized. “When we had been in Kerala, our home helper used to gather banana peels and take it house. Out of curiosity, I requested her what she would do with them, and that’s how I learnt to make banana peel rasam. Similarly, keera thandu, murunga keera and agathi keera lend themselves properly for the dish. Rasam made with stems of mint, coriander and curry leaves will style heavenly,” says Usha.

Kicking up flavours

Ingredients to garnish must be added to ghee in a selected order. “Once the ladle is sizzling with oil, add the urad. When it turns mild brown and offers out aroma, add the mustard. As it begins to splutter, add purple chillies, fenugreek seeds, cumin and curry leaves (in that order) after which pour it over the rasam. Thaalippu or garnish is the crown, so it must be excellent,” she says. “If it gets burnt, just discard it and redo. In some families, they sprinkle a little water after garnishing and this is to lock the flavour.”

  • Usha’s rasam podi recipe:
  • Ingredients
  • 200 gms every of Tanjore (gundu), Salem (neetu) and Bedige chillies
  • 600 gms coriander seeds
  • 200 gms every of pepper, jeera and fenugreek
  • 1/4 of LG asafoetida bar
  • 6 to 10 turmeric sticks
  • 10 sprigs of sun-dried curry leaves
  • 2 giant fistfuls toor dal
  • 1 fistful moong dal (optionally available)
  • 1 fistful urad dal
  • 1 fistful channa dal
  • Method
  • Sun-dry the components and grind them to medium coarse in a mill.

“While assembling the dish, crushing curry leaves, tomato and coriander leaves together with crystal salt and tamarind water brings out the best flavour. A slit green chilli and a blob of jaggery enhance the taste,” she provides. Usha additionally notes that rasam is finest made utilizing an eeya chombu (a vessel made out of tin-aluminium alloy that has a broad base and slim neck), clay pot or soapstone pot.

The eeya chombu is designed in such a way that the aroma and flavour rotate throughout the vessel when it’s combined with a ladle,” she says, including a phrase of warning, “Never use forged iron to make rasam.” Another vital trick is assembling the rasam. You bought to crush curry leaves, tomato and coriander leaves with crystal salt together with tamarind water to get that magical style and flavour, and this comes with apply.

Usha has listed wide selection of rasam podi recipes in her ebook. Now coming to rasam podi, Usha insists that solar drying all of the components will end in fragrant rasam. The rule might be relaxed and components roasted in a pan solely throughout wet days. Depending on utilization, rasam podi might be saved for upto six months. “Another motive why some by no means get it proper is they may let the preparation boil over and this may smash the flavour. When it’s about to boil, swap off, garnish and shut instantly. Use solely ghee for garnishing as ghee acts because the car for absorbing the goodness of the spices used. And the rasam connoisseur that she is, she insists she has ready every of the 1,000 rasams in her ebook a minimum of 5 instances.

Queen of rasam

“The book is targeted at Indian and international audiences, and has a detailed description of all 350 ingredients with a photograph, its medicinal value, taste and usage. I have also provided tips on how to buy and store these ingredients.”

Adirasam delight

A rasam connoisseur would at all times go for Adi rasam or the mandi, which is nothing however what settles on the backside of the vessel. Once you perceive the worth of mandi, you’ll by no means miss it. The finest strategy to serve rasam is to offer it a very good combine with a ladle after which serve it.

Regional fare

The natural concoction predominantly made in Southern states is named Rasam in Tamil Nadu. Chaaru in Andhra and Saaru in Konkan and Karnataka, the preparation often an on a regular basis affair is a necessary half of the South Indian cusine.

Seasonal Rasam

Gita Rajamani, a meals blogger whose You Tube channel, Agrahara Recipes, paperwork tradtional vegetarian recipes handed over from generations says that every of the spices has therapeutic properties and is basically info as an immunity booster. Rasam preparation in households depends upon the season, for instance throughout the wet season Jeera Milagu Rasam and Milagu rasam is the staple.

During the Covid 19 disaster, the septuagenarian recommends Kandanthippili and Sadakuppai rasam, which is a treatment for fever, chilly and cough. As it’s simply digestible, rasam is appropriate for folks of all age teams, and for diabetic inhabitants, she recommends Goddu rasam or the gentle rasam with minimal components and buttermilk rasam.

Queen of rasam

Nutritious Konkani Saaru

Food blogger Divya Kudua, who specialises in Kerala and Konkani delicacies, says that in Kerala rasam by no means takes the centrestage, however is at all times a gentle concoction made utilizing jeera and pepper, often served as an after meal digestive drink. In Konkani delicacies Saaru is ready utilizing the tamarind, dal and coconut.

“Usually on Fridays we make Channa water rasam, which is more like a soup and not necessarily mixed with rice and eaten. Saaru as we call it, is a nutritious dish suitable for all age groups,” says Divya.

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Raw, no gasoline

In Andhra and Telangana area, there are quite a few variations of Chaaru (rasam). Depending on the area, the components that goes into this spiced up broth varies, says Chef Thimma Reddy, The Park, Hyderabad.. He observes that the utilization of garlic is excessive in these states, and extra purple chillies are used within the place of pepper corns. Considered a poor man’s meals, the dish’s spotlight is the garnishing, he says.

Queen of rasam

His favourite is the Pacchi Pulusu, which doesn’t require cooking and is uncooked. Pacchi pulusu might be ready in a jiffy, and crucial side is the blending of all of the components within the tamarind water with one’s palms


100 grams Tamarind

25 grams Green chilli

00 grams Onion

10 grams Curry leaves

10 grams Coriander leaves

10 grams Jaggery

25 ml Oil

10 grams Cumin seeds

10 grams Dry purple chilli

Salt to style

500 ml Water

Method: Soak tamarind for 30 minutes in water, squeeze and extract the pulp. Slit the inexperienced chilli, roast on direct flame till it darkens and pores and skin it off. Roughly crush all of the components, roasted chilli, onion, coriander utilizing mortar and pestle. In a bowl, add water, tamarind pulp, jaggery, crushed components and salt to style. Tempering: Heat the oil, add cumin seeds, dry purple chilli and curry leaves, pour the tempering over the uncooked tamarind rasam and blend properly.

Recipe by Chef Thimma Reddy, The Park, Hyderabad

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