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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Mysore Rasam / Mysore Tomato Saaru

A rasam is a regular feature in our home though I haven't posted a recipe yet since I never seem to capture a decent picture of it. All the good things settle at the bottom and all one get to see is some orange - brownish water with some wilted cilantro floating over. Even the mustard seeds and curry leaves refuse to stay on the surface as one can notice. Chaaru / Rasam / Saaru, with various regional names is a south Indian lentil based watery broth served at almost at the end of a meal. It is served after sambhar, another lentil and vegetable based course and  just before one eats rice and curd / yogurt. Tomatoes are an usual addition to it. This flavorful and spicy broth is to aid the digestion and is usually eaten with rice. One can even drink the flavorful broth as it is. In our Andhra homes, we eat rice and rasam along with some cooked lentils seasoned just with salt called muddha pappu, even though the rasam is made with lentils. 

Rasam is an integral part of the menu whenever we are eating rice  in our home, along with a curry and lentil preparation, A chutney / pickle and yogurt tag along obviously. Yesterday, I had made a meal somewhat resembling Karnataka cuisine with badanekayi - avarekaalu huli aka eggplant - field beans sambhar, bottle gourd curry and decided to include Mysore rasam instead of my regular version. I make my own rasam powder which happens to be my grandmother's recipe and prepare a first class rasam. I have noticed that MTR's rasam powder is also fabulous though my son says he loves my version more. I guess I should feel flattered. There are several rasam recipes one can try though I mostly keep rotating the common tomato and lemon versions. 

One of my close friend's mother was from Mysore and I have eaten her food several times. And I couldn't remember now whether her rasam tasted any different though I could vividly recall the huli aka sambhar. It is mostly because my mother never made / makes a sambhar to this day in our home and I had a strong dislike towards sambhar powder then. I could have called my friend but I checked a few cooking blogs from Kannadigas to see how differently the rasam powder is made from my usual version. I realized there were two extra ingredients than mine, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Also I had seen online, some Mysore saaru versions with the addition of coconut. I can relate to the coconut part though since Kannadigas have a habit of throwing shredded fresh coconut in anything and everything. However the addition of coconut here is optional. 2 or 3 tbsp. fresh, shredded coconut can be toasted and ground along with the ingredients while making rasam powder and added to the rasam.

Preparing saaru podi / rasam powder:
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. black pepper
A pinch of mustard seeds
A pinch of fenugreek seeds
1 or 2 red chillies
4 to 5 curry leaves
(A little asafoetida can be added as well though I skipped it.)

* Add all the ingredients to a pan and toast on low flame until the coriander seeds turn a shade darker. (I don't add oil to toast the ingredients usually and skipped it. A tsp. of oil can be heated and red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida can be toasted in it.)
* Let the ingredients come to room temperature and grind them together finely. 

Ingredients for saaru:
1 gooseberry sized tamarind 
1/4 cup toor dal / lentils
1 big tomato
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. rasam powder or to taste (recipe above)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. jaggery
2 tbsp. minced cilantro leaves  
Ingredients for tempering:
1 tsp. ghee / oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida

* Soak tamarind in hot water. 
* Rinse toor dal twice with water and drain. Pressure cook the toor dal adding a little over than 1/2 cup water, turmeric and tomato until dal is cooked. When the valve pressure is gone, mash the dal with the back of the ladle. Mash the tomato finely and discard the skin.
* Squeeze the tamarind and collect the pulp, discarding the residue.
* Heat ghee or oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds to the pot. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Then add the mashed dal, mashed tomato, rasam powder, salt, jaggery, tamarind to taste and cilantro. Add a cup of water or a little more and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. 
* Bring the rasam to a rolling boil and turn off the stove immediately.
* Serve with rice.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #108 under 'Pick one state' theme and my choice being south Indian state of Karnataka. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Narmadha said...

Mysore Rasam is one of our favorite rasam and freshly grounded spices adds lot of flavor. We add coconut while making powder. This looks so flavorful and inviting.

Saraswathi Ganeshan said...

what a comforting recipes! Looks so appetizing!

Amara’s cooking said...

Your rasam is really tempting Suma. I learned Mysore rasam from my cousin, it tastes delicious. Fresh ground spices have a much richer taste. No wonder your son likes your version than MTR..

MySpicyKitchen said...

Rasam is my comfort food and I tend to eat more rice when it is on the menu. I have no preference on one rasam over the other, as long as it is rasam and is spicy. Mysore rasam looks good and will try adding mustard seeds and curry leaves to the spice blend next time I make it. I only add these in the seasoning.

sushma said...

I love mysore rasam, perfectly done and looks too good.