Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Main Dish, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Rasam

RasamSambar may be an important and inevitable dish of a South Indian meal, but the meal is incomplete without hot and tangy rasam. Although sambar and rasam have many common ingredients, they both taste distinct and unique. It is surprising that a simple dish like rasam can overpower a supreme dish such as sambar. It may look and taste simple but making finger-licking rasam that makes you want to sniff your hand much after you have finished your meal and washed your hands is an art to be perfected. Although I have been cooking for many years, I still feel the rasam I make can never match the taste of my mother’s rasam. Thanks to the variety of rasam powders in the market, making good rasam is easy these days. Perfecting the taste is just a matter of time.

Rasams are of different types – Tomato Rasam, Garlic Rasam, Pepper rasam, Jeera rasam, and the list is long. My recipe is a combination of some of these.

Ingredients:
Toor Dal – 1/2 cup
Tomato – 2-3 large ones
Water – 3-4 cups
Tamarind – lemon size

Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp
Rasam powder – 2 tsps
Asafetida powder – 1/2 tsp
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Jaggery powder/shavings – 1/2 tsp

For tempering
Coriander leaves – a bunch
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic (optional) – 6-7 cloves
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Coconut oil/vegetable oil – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 people

Method:
Soak toor dal overnight or 6-8 hours and pressure cook it. You may choose to skip the dal. Not adding dal makes the rasam very watery, just like the versions served in weddings. I prefer to add dal because it gives it slight bit of thickness. Soak tamarind in 1 cup of hot water and set aside for 10 mins. In a pot, add 2 cups of water and add chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder. Close and cook for 5-10 mins in medium heat until tomatoes are soft and well cooked. When the tomatoes are cooked well, add salt and tamarind juice. Cook for 2-3 mins. Add the jaggery powder. This helps balance the tanginess of the tamarind without making the rasam sweet. Bring to boil. Mix asafetida powder, pepper powder, chilly powder, and rasam powder in few spoons of water and pour into the cooked tomato. Bring to boil. Do not boil for more than 5 minutes because it can turn rancid and increase acidity in people prone to acidity. Taste and adjust salt, chilly powder/pepper powder if necessary.

In a small kadai, heat 1 tsp oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add crushed garlic and saute. Garlic can be avoided if you do not prefer that flavor. When the garlic turns brown, switch off the fire and add curry leaves. Add this to the rasam. Add finely chopped coriander leaves.

If you do not have rasam powder at home, while tempering, after the mustard seeds crackle, you can add a tbsp of coriander powder, chilly powder, crushed jeera, and asafetida. This works as a good substitute for rasam powder.

Serve with rice or separately as a soup. I prefer to have rasam with a dollop of ghee mixed in my rice. This makes the rice extremely tasty and cools down your body and heals your throat and stomach. If you are down with a cold, you can spike the pepper in your rasam and drink it as a soup. This helps clear up the throat. My favorite combination is rice, ghee, rasam, and potato poriyal. Yummy!

Breakfast, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Sprouted Ragi Dosa

A variety of grains are cultivated in India. The best way to taste and experience grain varieties is to travel through villages. Rice and wheat (which is what most people in the city consume) is a luxury for most villagers. Villagers survive on cheaper millets such as bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), nachni (finger millet/ragi), etc. Generally labeled as food for the poor, these humble yet powerhouse grains rich in minerals are the secret to the villagers’ health and longevity. These grains are diabetic-friendly and gluten-free too!

Ragi is staple food of many villages in south India and Maharashtra. Ragi is the first solid food that is given to most South Indian kids. Ragi is rich in calcium and an excellent source of fiber. Most families living in villages include ragi in some form or the other in their everyday meal. Authentic Karnataka ragi recipes include Ragi Mudde and Ragi Roti. Bakhri of Maharashtra is an equivalent of ragi roti of Karnataka. City markets have sophisticated items like ragi cookies, biscuits, khakra, and even ragi puttu powder! Popped ragi powder called ragi huri hittu is also something found in city markets and can be used to make sweets. Ragi malt drink is a popular in many Udupi restaurants. Ragi dosa is also popular although not very commonly seen in restaurants.

Ragi dosa

One way of making ragi dosa is to get readymade ragi flour from the market and make instant ragi dosas that do not require fermentation. But I wanted to make it using whole grains and try sprouting the grain. The process is time consuming but the taste and feeling of satisfaction makes it a truly worthy experience. Sprouting ragi takes roughly 32 hours (depending on the climate in your region). This dosa batter needs fermentation. So plan for your sprouted ragi dosa at least 2 days in advance.

Ingredients:
For Batter:
Ragi – 1 cup
Raw rice – 2 cups (I used unpolished red raw rice)
Urad dal – 3/4 cup
Salt to taste

For Mixing In Batter:
Chopped onion – ½ cup
Green chilly – 2
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup

For Dosa:
Cooking Oil as needed

Method:
Sprouted RagiSprouting Ragi:
Wash and clean the ragi grains in water. Soak the grain overnight/8 hrs in a wide mouthed vessel. Colder climates may need more soaking time. After 8 hrs of soaking, remove excess water. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Leave it to rest for 10-12 hrs or up to 24 hrs. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate in your region. Since it’s cold at this time here, I could get only tiny sprouts.

IngredientsRoughly 6 hrs before you want to make the batter, soak 2 cups of raw rice and 3/4 cup of urad dal separately. After 6 hrs, drain excess water. When your ragi sprouts are also ready, it’s time to make the batter.

Making batter:
Grind the urad dal to a smooth paste. Then grind raw rice and sprouted ragi and mix with ground urad dal. Add salt. Mix well using your hand (this aids in fermentation). Leave undisturbed overnight (8-10 hrs). Fermentation causes batter to rise. Ensure that you choose a vessel that has some space to allow the batter to rise. After 8-10 hrs the batter would have risen and is ready to be used.

BatterChop onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and green chilies finely. Add to the sprouted ragi dosa batter. Crush cumin seeds and add it to the batter. If you like the plain variety, you could avoid this step. Mix well.

Making ragi dosaMaking Dosa:
Heat an iron griddle. When the griddle is adequately hot, turn fire to low, pour a drop of oil on the griddle, and spread it around using a cotton cloth. Take a ladle full of batter and using the flat bottom part of the ladle to spread the batter. Close the dosa on the griddle using a lid. Since raw rice is used in this batter, closing it with a lid aids in dosa getting cooked faster and makes it soft yet crispy. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the dosa for about half a minute. Remove the lid. When you see that the dosa edges have turned crisp and leaves the sides, drizzle half a teaspoon oil and flip over. Cook the other side for about half a minute. Remove from fire. Serve with sambhar, chutney, or podi. When served with sambhar, sprouted ragi dosa becomes a healthy and wholesome meal. Try experimenting and including this poor man’s grain in your diet. Benefits are many!