I was having rasam for lunch today and wondered why it is not as famous as the South Indian Sambar. For some reason rasam has always received a step-motherly treatment. According to me, rasam is one of the most ignored/under-rated recipes of the south. For those who are not familiar yet, it is ‘The Soup’ of the south. Probably has the least nutrition value among other famous dishes, but tastes better than most.
The Malayalees and the Tamilians call it Rasam (more popularly called), in Andhra it is Chaaru and Saaru in Karnataka. There are a lot of varieties of rasam and different parts of the same state have different versions of the same variety. That shows how versatile rasam is. Some of the more popular ones are the plain rasam, pepper rasam, tomato rasam, lemon rasam, mango rasam, Ullava chaaru, ginger rasam, garlic rasam and coriander rasam.
My all time favorite is the Pepper Rasam (miriyala chaaru). Pepper rasam tastes best with mutton fry and my mom knows the secret recipe (slurp slurp). One of the tastiest rasams I had had in the recent past was the one my mom-in-law made from ‘Rasakoot’. It is a Kerala rasam powder that comes in small packets and is found in the typical Kerala store. She discovered this ‘magic in small packet’ when she went to visit her sister in Mumbai (Ironic nah!)
Rasam is truly one of my favorite items in a South Indian meal. It is easy to make, tastes awesome, smells delicious, one needs no culinary skills to make it and you can get as creative as you want. Try this instead of regular dal while having rich spicy food, it helps in easy digestion. And it can be stored in your fridge for a week. After all it’s just spiced tamarind water. By the way, no matter what type of rasam you make, do not forget to add a pinch of hing. Eat it with hot rice or drink it just like that. Next time you have flu try this instead of the regular chicken soup.
Actually, don’t wait for the flu. Just have it…just like that!
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