Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mango Rasam

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I had my in-laws over a couple of weeks back, and this time my grand mother-in-law was also visiting and staying over for a day. This is those times when my kitchen undergoes a total makeover of sorts. Being from Chennai, you can smell some strong Iyer kitchen aromas emanating around the house. All kind of delicacies will be made to feed my poor better half who has been (per them) starving for some good food ( read non-punju food ).

With the culinary demonstration in full flow, usually I try my best to make some punju food but typically give in to showcasing my own skills in making some good south indian fare.

This time around it was Mango Rasam. A month ago when they came it was apple rasam. You may ask why the rasam (Purists, may say why spoil by adding fruit - to which I say, that's me). Well, Rasam is not as easy as it sounds. It takes patience to come up with a good rasam which nicely balances the flavors of the dal and the spices, and in my case, the subtle flavor and aroma of the fruit being used.
Now Rasam comes from the sanskrit word Rasa meaning extract or essence, and Rasam is actually an extract of the Tuvar Dal. Rasam alongwith rice is typically eaten as the first course in the Iyer cuisine and is followed by Sambar and Rice as the second course. Yogurt with rice is the third course. Though popularly it is called Rasam thanks to the numerous South-Indian joints, down south it goes by many names in different regions. In Karnataka it is called Saaru, Chaaru in Andhra Pradesh and Resa in Tulu Nadu (regions comprising of Dakshin Kannada, Udupi and Kasargod). Certain communities like the Iyengars call it Chaathamudhu and the Sourashtras (community of immigrants in Madurai) call it Pulichaar (Puli meaning tamarind and Chaar meaning Juice or essence). The Rasam is also the basis for the Mulligatawny soup. Mulligatawny is in reality an anglicized corruption of Milagutanni meaning pepper water ( Milagu meaning pepper and Tanni meaning water). Apart from the different names by which it is called, the recipes also differ in terms of the consistency of the extract and the use of ingredients.

Mango Rasam

Red Gram Dal (Toor Dal, also called pigeon peas) - 100 gm
Raw Mangoes (you can also take regular mangoes that are sour) - 3
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Rasam Powder - 3 Tsp
Mustard Seeds - 2 Tsp
Red Chillies - 3
Green chillies - 3
Curry leaves - 6-7
Garlic - 4 pods
Asafoetida (Hing) - A pinch
Salt - To Taste
Oil (For tempering) - 2 Tblsp

1. Peel and slice the mangoes into small cubes.
2. Add the red gram dal and water in a thick bottomed vessel. Cook on flame till it comes to a boil.
3. Add the mango pieces and salt. Simmer till mango pieces become tender and start to dissolve in the water.
4. If you do not have readymade Rasam powder, make your own rasam powder by roasting a tblsp of toor dal, 1/2 Tblsp cumin seeds, 1 Tblsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp peppercorns, 4 red chillies and a tsp of dried curry leaves. Grind them to a powder. (Iyengars also add in 1 tblp of fenugreek seeds and a tblsp of bengal gram).
5. Add this rasam powder alongwith turmeric powder to the vessel and boil for some more time.
6. Now prepare the tempering by heating oil in a separate pan. As the oil becomes hot, add in the mustard seeds. Also add in the asafoetida, red chillies, garlic pods, green chillies and curry leaves. fry for a little less than a minute. Remove from the flame and add this to the rasam (dal mixture).
7. Serve hot with rice.


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Sayantani said...

Hi Gaurav came here from Srivallis' blog. you have an wonderful blog here and this rasam looks delicious.
also thought of informing you that we have again started the Arusuvai Friendship chain. You were a part of this last time if you are still interested in taking part please see this http://ahomemakersdiary.blogspot.com/2010/11/arusuvai-friendship-chain-another.html

Gaurav said...

Hi Sayantani, thanks for your lovely comments. Am surely interested in the Arusuvai chain. The first one was a cracker.

Knorr Soup said...

Wow, a recipe using very little oil, and with the tangy mango with just a pinch of hing and fenugreek! Today, with more and more lifestyle related diseases like obesity and diabetes plaguing us Indians, such a recipe would do us a world of good, not to mention cater to our taste buds! For some expert tips on healthy eating habits check out our blog at http://knorratseven.blogspot.com/

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