Instant Rasam Without Tomato
A traditional South Indian meal is incomplete without rasam. Often, rasam is made with tomato, but this variation gets its sourness from tamarind instead.
You can buy readymade rasam powder at the store, but I'll show you how to make it from scratch. Though it does take a few extra minutes to dry-roast the spices and grind them into a powder, the reward is a more flavorful and authentic rasam. Many of the spices used here have health benefits; for example, cumin and coriander are good for digestion.
There are many different ways to make instant rasam, but the method I'll show you here is one of the easiest. The results are absolutely delicious, too!
Serve this rasam hot with rice along with any other side dish of your choosing for a lovely lunch or dinner.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1/2 cup toor dal (split pigeon pea lentils), washed and soaked for 10 to 15 minutes
- 3 to 4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
- 1 to 2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, soaked in water and squeezed for juice (or use store-bought tamarind paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander (dhaniya seeds)
- 1/4 teaspoon methi (fenugreek seeds)
- 4 to 5 dry red chilies, I used byadagi red chilies; you can use both byadagi and guntur red chilies
- 1 teaspoon jaggery, or to taste
- Salt to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
For the tempering:
- 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil or ghee
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 to 2 dry red chilies
- 1 to 2 green chilies
- 1 to 2 strings fresh curry leaves
- In a bowl, rinse toor dal 2 to 3 times. Add sufficient water to cover and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (this step isn't required, but soaking will lessen the cooking time).
- After soaking, transfer the toor dal to a pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water or more to cook. Add the turmeric powder and coconut oil or ghee. Close the lid and take 4-5 whistles, or until the lentils are cooked. Switch off the flame and let the pressure settle naturally.
- Place the tamarind pulp in a bowl, add water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes (skip this step if you are using store-bought tamarind paste).
- When the tamarind pulp is soft enough, squeeze the juice into the water in which it is soaking and discard the fiber. Set aside.
- In a frying pan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, methi and dry red chilies. Fry over low heat till the mustard seeds start to splutter, the coriander seeds turn golden brown and the red chilies become crisp. Turn off the heat and let the spices cool.
- Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a mixer jar and grind to a coarse powder. Your rasam powder is ready. Set aside.
- When the pressure of the cooker settles naturally, open the lid. Using a masher or the back of a ladle, mash the cooked lentils until smooth.
- Transfer the mashed dal to a pan, add 1 cup of water and let it come to a boil over medium heat.
- Add tamarind water (or tamarind paste) to the lentils and cook for 1 minute or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
- Add the prepared ground rasam powder and mix. Add the jaggery and adjust the salt. Add water to achieve your desired consistency and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until the dal blends well with rasam powder.
- Add the coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
- Make the tempering: In a frying pan, heat 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil or ghee and splutter the mustard seeds. Add broken red chilies, green chilies and fresh curry leaves. Fry and then turn off the heat. Add the tempering to the rasam.
- Serve the rasam hot with rice and any other side dishes of your choosing.
- Tamarind: Use hot water to soak the tamarind pulp. Hot water helps soften the pulp more effectively.
- Sourness: This rasam does not contain any tomatoes. Instead, the sour flavor comes from the tamarind.
- Consistency: You can adjust the consistency of the rasam by adding more or less water. Be careful not to add too much water, however, as the flavors will become diluted.
- Red chilies: Using Kashmiri or byadagi red chilies gives a beautiful red color to the dish. If you want more spiciness, add guntur chilies or any other type of spicy red chili.
- Ghee: For extra flavor, use ghee in the tempering.
- Spices: You can adjust the spices according to your preference.