There is a definite nip in the air and with it comes the season of cold and sniffles. What better than wrapping hands around a cup / glass of some super hot and spicy soups and drinks. For the past couple of days I am sniffling through the day and the fumes from the firecrackers definitely did not help. So, for now I am drinking hot water through the day and from today Rasam is also added on the menu. I made a super peppery garlicky tomato rasam today to clear my blocked nasal passages. The use of onion and garlic is an age old method to combat infections either ingested or left around to sniff. In fact sick rooms would have strategically placed onions and garlic and it was believed these bulbs would rot after sucking out the infection in the room. In India, many believe in eating an onion salad in summer to cool the body and to help fight infections if any.
In South India, Rasam is considered a must have when suffering from a cold. It can either be mixed with rice to make a soupy meal or gulp down some as a starter or at the end of a meal. This Rasam can be made as a soup as well just tone down the pepper.
Tomato - 2, large
Tuwar Dal - 1/4 cup
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball
Garlic - 10 to 12
Pepper - 10 to 15
Green chilli - 2
Turmeric pwd - 1 tsp
Red Chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Curry leaves - 4 to 5
Coriander leaves - a few sprigs
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 2, crushed
Onion - 1/2, chopped
Chop the tomatoes, slit the green chillies. Wash the garlic and crush with skin, crush the pepper and keep aside. Soak the tamarind in a 1/2 cup water.
Soak the dal for 30 to 60 minutes then wash and drain it. Add some fresh water and pressure cook it till soft.
Heat a saucepan and add 2 cups of water, tomatoes, garlic, salt, turmeric and red chilli water. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook. When tomatoes are half cooked add dal and pepper and cover and cook. Extract the pulp from the tamarind and add it to the rasam. Once cooked add the coriander leaves, curry leaves and the green chillies and take off the heat.
For the tempering, heat a small pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds, once it splutters add the chopped onion and crushed garlic. Take off the heat with the onion and garlic turns golden. Pour it onto the Rasam and keep covered till ready to serve.
Pour some hot Rasam into a soup cup, wrap your fingers around the cup and sip away noisily.