Cold weather and rains always make me remember Comfort Foods….Foods that have been a part of our growing up, something that I always took for granted for a long long time. When I went to stay in the hostel for my Masters, I realised the warmth and love that goes in to the food our moms make for us. Nothing that I can have in restaurants can even come close to the lingering fragrance and warmth from food cooked at home with loving hands.
After a festival or function,we would crave for amma`s home made simple pathyam food to cleanse our systems. I always loved her simple lemon rasam with Beans Curry or Chow Chow Kootu and Appalam. I am not so happy with the tomatoes here in the U.S, as I feel they lack tartness and tang. Yesterday when I saw tomatillos at the local produce store, I bought a pound or two, all the while imaging endless possibilities. Tomatillos can be stored in paper bags and kept in the refridgerator for around 2-3 weeks. The tomatillos have a protective outside husk. Remove the husk and wash before use. Tomatillos are used in many places in teh treatment of fever. I had to make this lemon rasam today, as its been pouring since morning and I suddenly yearned for amma`s cooking…
2 green chillies slit vertically.
2 red chillies.
2 1/2 cups of water
4 spoons of cooked toor dhal.
Cilantro to Garnish.
- Chop the tomatillos in to little pieces so it saves cooking time. Dilute the cooked toor dhal in the 2 1/2 cups of water and set aside.
- In a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and when it is hot, add mustard. When the mustard splutters, add hing, curry leaves, red chillies, slit green chillies, and finally the chopped tomatillos.
- Allow to saute for a few minutes till the tomatillos are a little mushy.
- Add 1 cup of the dhal water at this stage and allow to simmer. Add salt, hing if required and turmeric.
- After about ten minutes, remove in a spoon, a few cooked pieces of tomatillos and crush them with a spoon in a cup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of toor dhal water to the crushed tomatillos and pour it all back in to the kadai.
- Allow the whole rasam to simmer and then switch off in about 15 minutes or so.
- After the rasam has cooled down a bit, squeeze the juice from the lemon and keep closed.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Beans Poriyal or Pumpkin Poricha Kootu.
The same rasam can be made with regular tomatoes too, but since the tartness is a lot lesser, I add a piece of tamarind to the dal water as it cooks.