Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lemon Rasam

How often, when asked about what we cooked for dinner, have we responded with -"Oh nothing, just some rasam"! Just think about it, even a simple dal gets a better mention when compared with this South Indian staple. What do we turn to when we are down with the sniffles, what do we resort to cooking when we are out of time and ideas, what do we make when we are thinking of home - as far as I am concerned, the answer to all these is Rasam.

Today's recipe is the humble Rasam -  Lemon Rasam. For the uninitiated, there are a zillion different varieties of rasam, not the standard one prepared in the restaurants. Ditto for sambaars. But that is for another day and another post. For now, let us stick to the lemon rasam. Infact, I prepare lemon rasam also in two different ways. One is from the recipe book "Dakshin". The other, the one that I am posting today, is the way my mom prepares it.

Rasam is generally associated with a tamarind base, but for lemon rasam, you don't need any tamarind. The lemon provides the required tanginess. I have used homemade rasam powder - will soon be posting the recipe for the same. Feel free to use the store bought one thought. Serve rasam with rice and a curry on the side or drink it up hot and steaming as I do - yummy!

Preparation & Cooking: 15 minutes          Serves: 2-3


Toor Dal/Red Gram Dal - ¼ cup
Tomato - 1
Green Chillies - 2
Ginger - a small bit
Turmeric/Haldi Powder - ½ teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing - a pinch
Rasam Powder - 1 teaspoon
Water - 4 cups
Lemon - 1
Curry Leaves -  a few
Salt - to taste
Cilantro Leaves - for garnish
For Tempering: 
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 2 teaspoons
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Whole Red Chillies - 2

  1. Cook the dal in a pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric and salt, till it is soft and mushy.
  2. Grind together the tomato, ginger and green chillies into a smooth puree.
  3. Combine the prepared puree, 4 cups of water, asafoetida, turmeric powder, rasam powder, curry leaves and salt in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
  4. Once the liquid begins to froth over, mash the cooked dal with the back of a ladle and add it to the rasam. Let it cook for another minute.
  5. Turn off the flame and add the the juice from one lemon. 
  6. Prepare the tempering by heating the ghee and adding the mustard seeds and red chillies to it. When the must seeds splutter, add the tempering to the rasam. Garnish with cilantro leaves

Serve hot with rice and side dish of choice.

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