Wednesday 4 June 2014

Neem Flower Rasam (வேப்பம்பூ ரசம்)

Neem flower (வேப்பம்பூ) is available as fresh flower or in dried form. Dried neem flower is light brown in color. Traditionally, neem flower rasam is prepared on Tamil New Year's day. Neem flower is used in native medicine for digestive problems and treating intestinal worms. The recipe given below is a slight variation of the traditional recipe and it works great for me. Please try this out. 

Ingredients: (Serves four) 

Dried neem flowers
Tamarind – the size of a large gooseberry (காட்டு நெல்லிக்காய்)
Toor dhal – 2 teaspoons
Rasam powder – 2 teaspoons
Red chillies – 4 no
Jaggery – ½ teaspoon (optional)
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a pinch
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Ghee – 2 tespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few 
Neem flower – 2 teaspoons

Neem Flower Rasam (வேப்பம்பூ ரசம்)
Method: Soak tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Later, squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice.  Add rasam powder, salt and jaggery to the tamarind juice, mix well and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadai, add red chillies and saute till they become darker in color. Add toor dhal and fry till the dhal becomed golden brown. Now add the tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. Continue to boil the mixture till the raw smell of tamarind disappears. Add required quantity of water. Reduce the flame and allow it to simmer till the rasam froths. Now add asafoetida. Remove from fire. Heat ghee in the tadka pan/spice pan (தாளிக்கிற கரண்டி), add mustard seeds, and when they starts to sputter, switch off the fire. Add the seasoning to the rasam. Heat remaining ghee in the tadka pan and fry neem flowers till they turn dark brown in color. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice and poriyal/kootu/ appalam.

Tip: Adding asafoetida when the rasam froths, enhances the flavor of the preparation

Note:  Traditionally rasam powder is not used for preparing neem flower rasam. For the traditional preparation, follow the same recipe and use more red chillies (7-8) instead of rasam powder.

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