Poondu Rasam – a flavorful garlic soup with tomatoes and lentils

Background:

Poondu rasam is the somewhat distant cousin of the regular rasam I made. One that visited once in a blue moon. Being married to a person who’s definition of masala started with garlic, it is not easy to incorporate this pungent pod in most of my dishes. I would sneak it in sometimes in other stronger tasting side dishes. Rasam being the delicate soup it is was not one to mask the flavor of garlic rather the one to highlight it. On rare days when I felt the rebel in me peek out I made this.

Stuff you will need:

A marble sized ball of tamarind soaked and juice extracted
2 small tomatoes diced
1 green chilly slit
1 pod of garlic – crushed or finely diced
Salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch of asafoetida
1 handful thuvar dhal – cooked and mashed
1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 handful coriander leaves chopped roughly

How to make it?

In a thick bottomed vessel add diced tomatoes, tamarind juice, salt, turmeric and asafoetida. Cook on medium heat till it starts frothing and raw smell of tamarind goes away. Add the cooked and mashed thuvar dhal and add water if volume is less. In another small pan heat the ghee and add mustard seeds till they start popping. Add the green chilly and the diced or crushed garlic. When done add this to the boiling rasam. Garnish with cut coriander and cover to lock in flavors.

Serve four

Special Notes:

This rasam does not call for rasam or sambar powder that is a staple of most paruppu rasams. However the green chilly may be substituted by 1 tsp of sambar powder.

Balm for the congested soul – Milagu jeera rasam

Background:

Pepper + jeera + tomato = yummy rasam.

I made this rasam Saturday since K said he felt under the weather. Making it was a breeze and it did help brighten up an otherwise drab day.

Stuff you will need:

2 big tomatoes crushed
Black Pepper – 1 tsp
Jeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Dhaniya/Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – a handful
Thuvar Dhal – a handful
Salt to taste (about 1 and 1/4 tsp)
Coriander leaves – a handful minced to garnish

How to make it?

Dry roast and powder all ingredients with the exception of tomatoes. Heat 2 tsp ghee, season with mustard and curry leaves in a thick bottomed vessel. Add the crushed tomatoes and the dry roasted powder. Add water to make 3/4ths of the vessel. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. When the concoction starts frothing, lower flame and garnish with coriander. Cover and turn gas off.

Serve hot as is or with white rice.

Serves four

Special Notes:

This rasam is used as an equivalent to the chicken soup i.e. it is a comfort food and for people with throat infection and or congestion of the nose and lungs this rasam eases the irritation and warms up the inside.