Aloha! Last week I was on a vacation in the most exotic location rightly called as the paradise on earth. I had a wonderful time in Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands. Extreme indulgence, tanning, food, fun and frolic are some words to describe those days. I feel highly rejuvenated but with some aches due to those unusual activities are still lingering.
Lentil soup with garlic and pepper
I had a friendly request from Melissa, who I met in Maui. She is hosting an Indian themed party in Western Canada and needs a recipe for an Indian soup. So here is my Rasam, a lentil soup from South India for you.
Rasam is my comfort food and when mixed with mashed rice, I equate it to manna from heaven. I adore it as a cold remedy too. Pepper, garlic and turmeric in this concoction act as a herbal medicine to heal and soothe sore throat. I believe, inhaling this spicy soup eases blocked nose and wakes up those sluggish taste buds. On a cold lazy day, rice with paruppu rasam is a complete meal for me.
- 1/4 cup toor dhal (split yellow pigeon peas)
- 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
- 1 tomato
- 1 green chilli (optional)
- 5-6 cups water
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- a pinch of asafoetida (hing – It gives a distinct taste, available in Indian grocery stores.)
- 2 garlic cloves (segments from a bulb)
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- salt as needed
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp pepper
(Dry roast these and grind to a coarse powder.)
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- few curry leaves
- 1 red chilli
- Cook toor dhal in a heavy bottom pan with 4 cups of water until it is soft and mushy.
- Mash the dhal well and keep it aside.
- Soak tamarind in hot water and when it cools extract its juice.
- Roast the spices and grind them to get rasam powder.
- In a heavy bottom pan add some ghee and fry chopped tomatoes with a pinch of salt until it turns soft.
- Split green chilli and crush garlic cloves, add to the pan and stir well.
- Now add tamarind extract and boil for 4-5 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon rasam powder and asafoetida to the boiling mixture.
- To this add dhal mixture and 2 cups of water as some water would have evaporated in the cooking.
- Continue boiling without covering the pan and add salt as required.
- When it boils and foams, add coriander leaves and cover it with a lid to retain the flavours.
- Heat a small pan and add 1 tbsp ghee, when hot, splutter mustard seeds, cumin seeds and add red chilli with curry leaves. (Handle this carefully as the seeds will blast all over. It is good to cover it but work fast to prevent burning.)
- Pour this on prepared rasam.
- Allow it to stay for 10 minitues for the flavours to mingle.
- Serve it hot after stirring well.
Best food for a cold day like today and this spicy, tangy soup will fill your kitchen with a delectable aroma. If you are making an Indian soup this is your best bet. Try it!