Rasam comes under the category of comfort food according to me. It is something that is light and can be made in a jiffy. Most Indians (or at least South Indians) think that rasam is something that people eat when someone is down with cold/fever and that it doesn't have any nutritional value, since most varieties of rasam are made with tamarind extract. But, rasam can me made with dhal, which is rich in protein. Lemon rasam does not have any tamarind and it does contain dhal. So, there you go.
Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):
Fresh lime/lemon - 1 big one
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup (using a measuring cup)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Tomato - 1 small one cut into cubes or you just squeeze it with hand
(You can even chop the tomato if you would like it in every mouthful :-))
To grind with water:
Green chillies - 2 to 3 small ones (depending on how spicy you would like it)
Salt - about a teaspoon
Cooking oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cilantro - 2 teaspoons finely chopped
1. Pressure cook toor dhal with turmeric powder, mash the cooked dhal and set aside. I take dhal and water in the ratio 1:3 and cook for 3 whistles.
2. Grind green chillies with salt and set aside.
3. In a vessel, add the ground green chillies, about 2 cups of water, asafoetida and tomatoes and bring it to a boil. Boil on medium heat until the raw chilli smell goes away and the tomatoes have cooked. This takes about 15 minutes.
4. To the mixture from step 3, add the mashed dhal from step 1, about 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Boil for 5 more minutes and turn off the stove.
5. In a small pan, heat some cooking oil, add mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. After the mustard splutters, transfer the contents of the pan to the mixture from step 4.
6. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime/lemon and lemon rasam is done! You can add more salt at the end if needed and also more lime/lemon juice if you want it to be tangy.
1. My Mom says grinding green chillies with salt will grind them properly and that is true, because I once tried to grind them alone and they wouldn't grind well.
2. Please avoid reheating in the microwave as the rasam tends to get bitter because of the lemon juice in it. I usually keep it out about 30 - 45 minutes before eating. Mixing it with hot rice also works. Heat transfer baby!!!!
You can also add about 1/2 teaspoon of sambar powder in step 3 along with the other ingredients. If you do so, please be sure to reduce the green chillies to 1 as sambar powder itself is spicy. That gives it a slightly different flavor :-). This rasam goes very well with rice and ghee (clarified butter). It can also be had like soup.