To just tell you how inspiration can come from such least expected sources, would you think of your a.c vent as one? Neither did I until this lazy day came by and I was puttering around my kitchen all fuzzy on what to cook for lunch, a starting trouble in the kitchen so typical of me at times (even the best chefs might have faced this at one time or another, right?)
Unexpected as it was, my nostrils were tickled by a strong but fragrant waft of garlic and curry leaves in a South Indian tempering, probably from the other kitchen glued to mine. Things like these are not uncommon in an apartment setup, particularly when two apartments are stuck to each other on their sides.
The scent of sizzling garlic and curry leaves was intoxicating enough for me to immediately crave for something similar. I hope my neighbor is inspired from time to time too..
If you have followed at least a few of my posts you might have a hint on how crazy I am in sneaking vegetables into everything that comes together in my kitchen. If it were up to me, I’d even sneak some into dessert, you get the idea right.
Captivated by the waft that lifted me up by my sense of smell, I set out to make a Rasam with a similar tempering, enriched with a dash of green and orange hues courtesy of the sliced carrots and zucchini.
If you have no idea what or how Rasam is and why in the world I am kicking up such a racket on sneaking vegetables here, Rasam (tamil) is a South Indian lentil broth sans veggies flavored with spices and a characteristic tempering/tadka typically eaten with steamed rice and ghee optionally.
I eat my vegetables and he does very well too, it is only my three-year old who refuses to touch any. And that is enough reason for recipes such as this one to come to life on my hot stove.
Sounding oxymoronic, light yet hearty and deeply satisfying in a meal, this rasam is fit to be made any day. It sure brought a contended smile to my face. Life is all about simple pleasures indeed.
Do you ever add veggies to your Rasam? What is the strangest veggie addition you can tell me about?
Zucchini and Carrot Garlic Rasam Recipe
Things you’ll need:
- 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ rounds (ends chopped)
- 2 slender carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- 1/4 cup toor dal
- 1/4 cup moong / split yellow dal
- 1 tsp red chilli powder / ground cayenne pepper or per taste
- 1 tsp jeera powder
- about a tbsp seedless tamarind
- cilantro for garnish
- 2 thin green onions, finely chopped ~ optional
for the tempering
- 2 tsp peanut oil or ghee
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp jeera
- 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 8 curry leaves
- 1 green chilli, whole
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
How it’s done:
I make this Rasam in both ways – start with tempering and then bring cooked lentil broth and veggies with spices to a boil or vice versa, but prefer the first one as I don’t need multiple pots/pans and gets done at one stretch. The second method is rather ideal though.
- Soak tamarind in warm water and keep aside.
- Bring water to a boil in another pot and cook the sliced vegetables covered until tender and hold their shape well.
- While the veggies cook, wash both toor and moong dal well until the water runs clear. Pressure cook the lentils along with turmeric with just enough water for 3 whistles or until well cooked.
- When cooled, whisk through the cooked dal for a uniformly mashed consistency. Now add about 1-1/2 cups of water, stir and leave it undisturbed for 5-10 mins to let the dal settle down. We’d only need the dal broth for Rasam.
- For the tempering, place oil/ghee in a medium-sized pot/pan over high heat. When the oil is hot enough and shimmering but not smoking (test by dropping one or two mustard seeds first), reduce the flame to medium-high, add mustard seeds and let splutter.
- As the mustard seeds splutter, add in the cumin seeds, minced garlic, whole green chillies and curry leaves in that order and sauté until green chillies show white spots, garlic turns golden brown and curry leaves are crisp, then add turmeric making sure to not burn it. Add the cooked veggies to this along with the liquid.
- Carefully pour in only the lentil broth (without the dal). Be careful with the steam rising from the sizzling pot. Add tamarind pulp, red chilli powder, jeera powder, salt and bring the rasam to a gentle boil (never rolling). Simmer for a few mins and switch off or keep aside.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions and serve super hot over steamed rice and ghee with your choice of vegetable side dish or papad.
- Other vegetables like beans, cucumber, sweet potato and even leafy greens like spinach can be used very well with the same recipe.
- I usually store a good chunk of tamarind soaked in water in an airtight glassware in the refrigerator. Just microwave for 30 secs and use squished pulp as needed, always comes in handy.
- If you’d rather not deal with squeezing tamarind to pulp, ready to use tamarind paste is a good alternative. Because it is concentrated, judge quantity accordingly.
- Do not discard the strained dal, it can be re-used to make regular dal tadka or with vegetables or sambar.
- Substitute garlic with a pinch of hing/asafoetida.