Monday, 7 July 2014

Lemon Rasam (எலுமிச்சம்பழ ரசம்)


Traditionally, home diet was planned in such a manner as to provide balance of nutrients, ensure good health and cleanse the body . This included days of complete fasting (உபவாசம்) or partial fasting (ஒரு பொழுது) as well as days when one or more specific ingredients were avoided while cooking. Lemon rasam is generally prepared, when tamarind is avoided in food. In this recipe, tamarind is replaced with lemon juice. Lemon rasam is mild, tasty and can also be used as an appetizer. 

Ingredients: (Serves four) 
Toor dhal – 1 small hollow ladle or 50ml measure
Rasam powder – 2 teaspoons
Tomato – 2 no, cut into cubes
Lemon – juice of 1½ lemon fruits*
Green chilli – 1no, whole
Salt – to taste
Asafoetida – a pinch
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few 
Coriander leaves – chopped, 1 tablespoon (optional)

* Number of lemon fruits required to prepare rasam depends on the size of the fruits and the quantity of juice extracted.
Lemon Rasam (எலுமிச்சம்பழ ரசம்)
Method: Wash and cook toor dhal in a pressure cooker with 100ml of water for 6 whistles or 6 minutes. Small quantities of dhal may be cooked along with rice, albeit kept in a different container. Dissolve pressure cooked toor dhal in 100ml of water and keep aside.  Cut the lemon fruits into halves. Squeeze the lemon halves and extract the juice. Keep aside. Do not squeeze the fruits too much, lest the rasam will have a slight bitter taste.

Cover and cook tomato pieces in a kadai on low flame with little water. Mix rasam powder, green chilli and salt in 2 tumblers (400ml) of water. Once tomatoes are done, add this mixture and bring it to boil. Now add dhal water to the boiling mixture. Reduce the flame and allow it to simmer till the rasam froths. Now add asafoetida and remove from fire. Heat oil 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.  Once the rasam cools a little, add the lemon juice and mix well. Taste the rasam to adjust the quantity of lemon juice required. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.

How to serve: Mix the rasam well with a ladle and serve with rice and poriyal/kootu/ appalam. Lemon rasam may also be served as an appetizer or soup.  

Note: Lemon rasam does not taste fresh once re-heated. Hence, prepare the right quantity that can be used up in one meal. 

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