Scribbles and a bowl of 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


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


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!

Beat the blues


Recently, I got a chance to visit London, which I happens to be the most beautiful city I have ever been to. I was there for more than two weeks, and eating outside food for this long was not in my plan. So, one day, being tired of all fancy food, I craved for a simple raita. But, I only had the store-bought yogurt with me, which is something I loathe. Can I possibly be making a yum Raita out of it? I asked myself and went ahead anyway.

Pyaaz ka Raita is one of the dishes my mother is famous for in our huge community. This recipe goes back to the days when she used to live in a desert in my maternal home. Pyaaz ka Raita was made with fresh curd and chopped onions, and it hardly took any time to cook. Which is why, it used to be made a lot in the house. And it tastes yum. So, it wasn’t like anybody was adjusting with it.

For me and my brothers, this Raita is what our home is all about. After returning from a family trip or at the end of a long day when all feel tired, it is this recipe that comes to our rescue. Even in those busy Sunday mornings when a guest kept us busy, my mum manages to cook this Raita and impresses one and all.

So, the next time you’re clueless in the kitchen, tired of the colourful veggies, need something simple and tasty, you know what to cook. You will thank my mother for this one, I promise!


Recipe: Pyaaz ka Raita

All right, so I generally make this Raita in an earthen pot that I got from Dastkar exhibition (Delhi). When I cook this way, it comes out to be nice with a great texture. You can cook this in a mixed metal skillet as well. We don’t use non-stick pans, and I hardly connect with them so you could avoid them too. Do I make sense?

So, first, we will cook the onions on high flame with the spices. In fact, my mum just adds the onion with the spices and tosses it a bit. You don’t need to cook the onions till it’s completely soft. You just need to mix the spices and let it be crunchy.

The second step is to add the slightly beaten curd. This is a quick process. You see, it took me quite some time to crack this dish. It is simple, but there’s this one rule.

Cook the onions on high flame. Add the beaten curd. Switch off the flame. Transfer the Raita in another pan. Cook the onions on high flame. Add the beaten curd. Switch off the flame. Transfer the Raita in another pan. Cook the onions on high flame. Add the beaten curd. Switch off the flame. Transfer the Raita in another pan.

This way, you will get a Raita that has crunchy onions, and because you transfer it into another vessel, it won’t curdle. So, are you ready?


½ tsp cumin powder
a pinch of asafoetida
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
fresh curry leaves (I didn’t have it when I clicked the picture)
salt to taste
oil for tempering the spices
¼ tsp black sesame seeds
1 big onion, chopped
2 green chillies, long-slit or chopped
coriander, chopped
½ tsp coriander powder, optional
1½ cup curd (I use homemade curd that is fresh and lightweight, but you could use those tight/stiff/thick looking store-bought yogurt that comes in a plastic box. Though, I avoid those completely)


1. Add oil in a skillet. Add the curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric and red powder, cumin, and sesame seeds, and green chilies. Sauté it for 10 seconds and add the chopped onion. Remember, the flame is on high.

2. Add salt, coriander powder and sauté for a minute.

3. Now, add the beaten curd and chopped coriander leaves. Stir it ever so quickly and transfer the whole thing into another bowl (in room temperature). This will give it a nice texture. Voila! The Raita is ready!

My mum serves it with roti, jowar ki roti (sorghum) or bajre ki roti (pearl millet). In the picture, you can make out a thali (prepared in last winter). To keep us warm, we keep having bajre ki roti and lots of jaggery in the colder months. With this type of roti, I like to have lots of clarified butter or ghee as well. During summers, you could have this Pyaaz ka Raita with crispy jowar ki roti (it’s gluten-free, rich with nutrients and my mum keeps sending me a small bag of it every couple of months so that I’m never out of it.)

I hope, this Raita helps you beat the blues that might hit you when you are stuck in a weird situation, a clueless dinner prep time or after an uninspiring day at work.