Milagu Jeeraga Rasam is also part of the comfort food series…On a cold day to have a dose of steaming pepper rasam along with piping hot rice and your favorite side of vegetable like vendekkai kari, Amma`s Alu Fry or “kootu” is something I can never trade anything else for!!! Whenever its the rainy season and we come down with a cold or cough, amma or Madurai amma would make piping hot rasam and we would feel fussed. It`s also “Pathya Samayal” as its given to people when are they not keeping well, to purify the body, build immunity and to recuperate. The flavor of the “rasam” is enhanced when you add a drop of ghee – what else can you call that aroma and taste – Divine!!!
This morning my husband was not keeping too well, complained of cold and sore throat and I thought this was a good day to make comfort food. Its lightly flavored with the sourness of the tomatoes and the pepper and cumin gives it that extra kick that enhances the warmth around the throat. Here it is, from my kitchen to yours…
1 1/2 cups of tamarind water extracted from a lime size tamarind .
1/4 cup of cooked toor dhal. (Optional)
Salt to taste
1 1/2 spoons of pepper.
1 spoon of jeera (cumin)
3/4 spoon of Bengal Gram
5 curry leaves.
Mustard, Vepampoo and curry leaves.
In the mixer, grind the dry roasted ingredients to a powder and THEN add one tomato chopped coarsely with a little tamarind water and grind to a paste.
In the copper bottomed vessel, add the ground paste and the remaining tamarind water.
Add salt, hing. curry leaves and turmeric and allow to boil on a medium low flame.
When the raw smell is gone and the liquid is reduced by 1/3, dilute the cooked toor dhal with 1/2-3/4 cup of water and pour it in.
If you are making this for a person who has an upset stomach, you may skip the toor dhal and simply dilute it with 1/2 cup of plain water.
When it begings to boil, switch off the stove and add chopped corriander.
Season in ghee with mustard, vepampoo and curry leaves.
The Vepampoo or the Neem Floweris believed to aid in digestion and stimulate the liver and also prevent many kinds of cancers, so I thought it would be a good idea to add some more nutrition and build immunity in to our systems.
My mum makes the most fragrant, yummy, delicious,mouth watering Vengaya Vethalkuzhambu you ever ate!!! It always used to be a delicacy my sister and me would get indulged in, over the weekends…Weekends would always be spending long hours on things that we wouod never get time for during the frenzied weekdays – amma smothering our scalps with gently warmed gingely oil, cleaning the window sills chatting about what happened in school and college over the week, and amma listening to us and making fragrant Vengaya vethalkuzhambu and alu fry. We would have our beauty baths with shikhakai traditionally ground my Madurai amma and get so hungry that we would be ravenous…A slow filling lunch consisting of this kuzhambu, alu fry, thakkali rasam, vadam and thayir sadam with vepallaikatti…Man, my day was made!!!
It`s now a huge favorite of my husband`s. It`s one of those comfort feel good gravies that make you content on a cold lazy sunday afternoon…Here it is, for all of you to try and test…
This is also my entry for FIC-Orange which is the brainchild of Harini of Sunshinemomsblogand hosted by Aparna of MydiverseKitchens.
1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Juice extracted from a lime sized tamarind ball.
1 Medium onion chopped or 20 numbers small onions or 10 numbers shallots.
1 spoon of Vathal (sundaikkai or manathangalikkai) (this is optional)
1 spoon heaped Sambar Powder.
1 spoon salt
A dash of Turmeric.
A pinch of hing.
3 spoons of Oil.
A dash of mustard and curry leaves for seasoning.
1 spoon of rice flour dissolved in 4 spoons of water.
Take a heavy bottomed kadai or copper bottomed vessel and pour in 3 spoons of oil. When the oil starts to smoke, reduce the flame and pop in the mustard, curry leaves and immediately the chopped onions or the shallots.
Allow to saute in the oil for sometime until they get a little brown and then add the vathals which are pretty dispensable in this version of the kuzhambu. You can also make this kuzhambu completely omitting the vathal.
When well roasted, add the extracted tamarind juice, hing, turmeric, salt, and sambar powder and allow to simmer for 25 mins or so until it reduces to a thicker consistency.
At the very end, add the rice flour dissolved in the water, to this thick reduction to loosen it a bit, so it comes to a pouring consistency.
Garnish with corriander leaves and serve HOT over rice with Alu Fry.