Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rasam for days and days

It may be a byproduct of me feeling under the weather, but I've been fiending for Rasam. I did a prior blog post about the stuff before, but this time, with Dino's permission, I'm putting up the recipe for you. This is from his book Alternative Vegan, which is coming up for a second edition. Even if you don't give a damn about veganism, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's great for approaching food from a South Indian perspective, which is often crowded out of our understanding of Indian food by the better-known stuff coming out of the north. It's also perfect for being creative and learning to love all of your veggies, which we all need to eat more of.


Rasam Powder:
  • 1 tablespoon dry toor daal or yellow split peas
  • 5-6 dry red chilis
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon corriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dry curry leaves

Roast all the spices in a small pan, and grind in a coffee grinder.

  • 1 cup dry yellow split peas or toor daal
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • tiny dash asafetida
  • 1/4 cup curry leaves
  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup cilantro, minced for garnish

Boil the split peas or daal in a separate pot for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a pot, add mustard seeds, and allow to pop. Add a dash of asafetida. Wait 3 seconds, and add the curry leaves. Add the tomatoes, and sprinkle on salt. Cook for about five minutes. Add the black pepper, the rasam powder, and the tamarind paste. Add the water and cooked, drained split peas. Bring to a full boil, and keep it boiling for 15 minutes. When cooked, sprinkle on cilantro for garnish. Serve over mushy rice.

Now, straight up, this is going to create a lot of food. Easily twelve servings, if not more. Don't believe me, here's the haul I produced:

For clarity, the one in the top left corner is a double portion I didn't have enough rice to dole out for. See what I mean when I say massive quantities? It's perfect to fill a week or two with staple meals and give you some room to play around.

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