Scribbles and a bowl of Rasam

rasam

At this point in life, I want to do everything that can help me keep wise. You know, when you see that there’s a clash of thoughts; and notice that you’ve grown up with a few vices that you will not change in life, whatsoever. And the actual fight will be to stick with your beliefs, let go of any kind of stupidity/negativity around you and still breathe.

I want to let go of the small failures. Want to let go of all the negativity that kills the peace of my mind and keep breathing. You know, when your hands are empty, no success that you can measure and celebrate, just a human being who loves you to death, you really shouldn’t beat yourself up. Easier said than done? Well, here I am in front of you, trying to look up to the shining stars, the blooming flower, the chirping bird on the naked tree, and the laughing street kid–just to keep my hopes safe in my pocket.

Anyhow. For now, just eat Rasam. I make it once in every 10 days or so. For me, a hot bowl of Rasam is a powerful superfood in itself. The citric and warm taste of Rasam hits all the right notes in my mind, and I love how it heals my dull mood.

Jyoti, a cousin of mine, makes a simple tomato Rasam that I absolutely love! Shamelessly, I have asked Jyoti its recipe quite a few times as I tend to lose it again and again. Some time back, though, after searching almost all my digital files, I found an old note of (a screenshot, basically) Jyoti’s recipe of Rasam.

I put on the heat of my stove with a shy smile ’cause I found the recipe. Took out all the ingredients with utter joy–tamarind, black pepper, tomato–because I found the recipe. Made my Rasam boil nicely and saw the dried red chillies dancing on its surface; yes, I found the recipe. Served a big bowl with my ever so humble Rasam. Oh, boy! I found the recipe!

Ajju, my husband, loves Rasam too. We were surprised to see its benefits on Google, thanks to tamarind water, garlic, black pepper and tomato juice. Have it after a tiring day, and see how it heals you. And, here’s what I learnt after having my bowl of Rasam the other day.

Look at the bigger picture. Avoid stressing your mind with repeated thoughts. Create something with your hands. Seek life with a burning, curious mind. Wasting your precious moments with wasted thoughts is ultimately a waste. Go, take a walk, free away those shackles of your heart and think about good food. What’s the next dish would you like to create to please your soul? What about me? I might try some Vietnamese noodle soup!

Recipe: Rasam

Ingredients

2 tsp each: black pepper, cumin seeds, Tuvar dal
Curry and coriander leaves
Dried red chilli – 2 to 4 (round ones, preferably)
½ tsp – turmeric powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp – coriander powder
½ tsp – red chilli powder
A pinch of asafoetida
6 to 9 cloves of garlic, roughly halved
2 large tomatoes
Dried tamarind
A pinch of black sesame seeds

Method

All right. So, don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It’s fairly simple; only needs practice.

1. Take a medium-sized piece of dry tamarind into a small vessel of hot water. Soak it for 15 minutes. Or you can also give this one boil. Keep aside.
2. Chop two large tomatoes and grind it into a paste. Not a fine paste, though. Strain this mixture, so that you get a fine texture and no seeds.
3. Strain the soaked tamarind into a bowl, and add in the tomato juice to it as well.
4. Heat a pan, and in it, roast the cumin seeds, black pepper and Tuvar dal. Lightly roast it and remove it into a plate to cool it down. Grind it into a powder.
5. Take a kadai, and add a tbsp of oil. I use peanut or coconut oil. Once hot, add in the curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, sesame seeds, whole garlic or roughly crushed garlic and dried red chilli. Give this a stir, and add in the liquid (tamarind water and tomato juice).
6. Add in the spices, the powder you made with the three ingredients, and salt to taste. Next up, add in 4 cups of water. And let this boil for some time.
7. Throw in some fresh coriander leaves and serve it with hot rice.

Note: There are many versions of Rasam; and some like to throw in a small piece of jaggery into it for some sweetness. According to my notes, Jyoti didn’t talk about it. And now I’m too embarrassed to confirm it with her over the phone. Happy cooking!

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