A steaming bowl of tomato-n-pepper rasam hits the spot on a cold winter day. It opens the sinuses, clears the nasal passage and throat, fires up the taste buds and creates a feeling of bonhomie that is so vital on a blustery and grey day in January. And my Mom’s recipe… A-ha, it is THE BEST. It is sweet and tangy, spicy (or mild) and piquant, verdant and attractive. Are you sold yet? No? Well, take a look.
Here is the recipe.
1/4 cup toor dal
1 large tomato, chopped into chunks
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rasam powder (I use a local brand Madurai Foods. You can find many brands at your local Indian store)
freshly ground black pepper
Jaggery (to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ghee (or less, if you prefer)
- Wash the dal, cleaning it of dust, stones, etc. Place in a pressure cooker vessel with 1/2 cup of water.
- In another pressure cooker vessel, place chopped tomatoes, turmeric, rasam powder, pepper, jaggery, salt, 1/4 teaspoon ghee and 1/2 cup water.
- Place both vessels in the pressure cooker. Cook for two whistles.
- Take out the vessel with the dal. Mash well so as to get a smooth liquid consistency. Pour into a cooking utensil.
- Add the tomato mixture to the mashed dal. Stir.
- Add a couple of cups of water. Bring to a boil.
- In a little pan, warm 1/4 teaspoon of ghee. Add black mustard seeds. When the seeds begin spluttering, add cumin seeds. Wait until the cumin turns red-brown. Turn off the heat. Add the mix to the rasam.
- Check for salt.
- Finish with a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Top with a little (or large) dollop of ghee if you like.
Rasam can be enjoyed as a soup by itself or eaten with steaming white/brown rice. No matter what your choice, belly-warming deliciousness, a runny nose and a feeling of ‘all is well with the world’ are guaranteed!