Wednesday 16 July 2014

Jeera–Pepper Rasam (ஜீரா-மிளகு ரசம்)

Pepper, also known as the ‘king of spices’ is rich in minerals and vitamins, and has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In native medicine, pepper is used to treat indigestion and flatulence.  

My grandmother used to make jeera-pepper rasam (ஜீரா-மிளகு ரசம்) when we were unwell, especially down with fever, cough, cold or indigestion. Hot rasam liberally mixed with rice would provide great relief from symptoms. Otherwise, it is a family custom to make this rasam once a week for health reasons. Jeera-pepper rasam may be served as an appetizer or with rice and paruppu thuvayal, which make a great combination!

Ingredients: (Serves four) 
Tamarind – the size of a large gooseberry
Jaggery – ½ teaspoon (optional)
Tomato – one, cut into cubes (optional)
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a pinch
Ghee – 1 tespoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few 

For the powder:
Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Peppercorns – ½ teaspoon
Dried red chilli – 1 no
Toor dhal – uncooked, 1 tablespoon

Jeera–Pepper Rasam (ஜீரா-மிளகு ரசம்)
Method: Soak tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Later, squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice. Add more water to make up the quantity to 3 tumblers (600ml). Keep aside.

Powder toor dhal, red chilli, pepper corns and jeera together, using a mixer-grinder. Dissolve this powder in tamarind juice without lumps. Add salt and jaggery and mix well. Add tomato pieces to the kadai, cover and cook on a low flame with little water. Once the tomatoes are done, add the tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. Add 1 tumbler (200ml) 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 start to sputter, switch off the fire. Add the seasoning to the rasam. Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice and thuvayal/poriyal/kootu/ appalam.

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

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