Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mysore Rasam

Rasam, I find, is one of those things that you can't cook by recipe alone. There has to be a feel for the dish, an innate sense of what and how much goes in. I've always been a cook of proportions, preferring to follow recipes, and so, my rasams were never fabulous (or ever measured up to what I had growing up).

A friend gave me a cookbook when I left for the US to study, and said "read it when you are feeling homesick". I didn't take it out for almost 3 months and then one day, I desperately wanted rasam. I tried this book and it was the best I've ever had.

Rasam is a thin, slightly spicy soup with a lentil base. It is delicious mixed with rice, but tastes as good just as a drink.

Mysore Rasam (adapted from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan)

1/2 cup red gram dal or masoor dal
3-4 small tomatoes, quartered
3 tsp Mysore Rasam Powder (recipe follows)
2 tbsp jaggery, powdered (I use sugar and it tastes as good)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 small bunch coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp juice of tamarind
salt to taste

For tempering:
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chilli, halved
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
a few curry leaves


Heat the oil and add the tempering ingredients. When the mustard starts to splutter, add the tomatoes, jaggery/sugar, tamarind extract, mysore rasam powder, salt and turmeric.
Keep on a low flame and let it simmer until the raw tamarind smell disappears. Add the cooked dal and let it simmer for another 5 or so minutes. Add the coconut milk, coriander and remove from heat.

Mysore Rasam Powder

2 cups dhania or coriander seeds
1/4 cup peppercorns
1/4 cup cumin seeds
4 tsp fenugreek leaves
1 bunch curry leaves
2 cups red chillies
3 tsp oil
2 tsp turmeric powder

Roast the coriander seeds, peppercorns, cumin, fenugreek and curry leaves on a dry pan.
In another pan, fry the red chillies in the oil.
Combine all the ingredients and grind to a fine powder.


Trupti said...

Nice photos.
I love any type of rasam thanks for sharing this recipe.

Srivalli said...

Arundathi, the pictures are too good...and I have never prepare any other rasam other than pepper cumin will try this sometime...

Anonymous said...

The pics are simply superb. Love the way you took the second pic. Love your recipe very different one.

Rachel said...

Love the pics..and neat presentation!

bee said...

it is the coconut milk that makes tis rasam different from others?

Deepa Kuber said...

Nice presentation.. i love rasams. will try this one soon.

Uma said...

yes, it's a nice presentation. Love the bowl in the first pic. The rasam looks so tempting.

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

oh wow! the pics look gr8.. and i love all types of rasams

Arundathi said...

@ Trupti - Thanks!

@ Valli - you have to try tomato rasam! its much lighter and less spicy.

@ Shriya - Thanks so much!

@ Rachel - Thank you!

@ Bee - First off, its the Mysore Rasam Powder that gives it a unique taste and is different from regular Rasam powder.

And the coconut milk definitely gives it a sweeter quality.

@ Anjali - Do let me know if you enjoyed it. Thanks!

@ Uma - Thank you! Got that bowl as a gift and now use it for everything!

@ Ramya - Thanks! Let me know if you try it! :)

Dhivya said...

nice rasam

Pooja said...

lovely pics and nice recipe :) . i should have born in somewhere south India to enjoy all different types of it :D

Cham said...

Nice one we call it coconut milk rasam, nice pict

Unknown said...

nice ur pics

Red Chillies said...

I can so relate to you about homesickness and rasam, so true. Looks yummy!

Arundathi said...

@ Dhivya - I love it too!

@ Pooja - Thanks! The nice part of the blogosphere is that we can try different recipes from various parts! :)

@ Cham - Didn't know that. The Mysore spice mix has a great flavor too.

@ Divya - Thanks!

@ Red Chillies - yes! my ultimate comfort food!

SMN said...

Nice phtos and im a big fan of rasam too.. thank you for the recipe..

Unknown said...

wow coconut milk in rasam...thats new to me..nice one:)

Vidya said...

Arundathi, this recipe looks quite interesting. I've seen Mysore rasam ususally at weddings, gruhapravesams, or other similar functions, in Chennai (and around TN). The funny thing is, I've lived in Mysore for 21 years, and no one there ever makes rasam this way. So I wonder why it's called "Mysore rasam... "
Food for thought... very tasty food at that :)

Arundathi said...

@ smn, saswati - thanks!

@ vidya - lol! thanks for telling me. i've always thought it was from mysore or atleast kannadiga. guess the name is just made up!