The spices that go into the rasam powder have a lot of medicinal properties, it is great for cold, cough, stomach alignments, also aids digestion. I have always been told by my mother, mother-in-law and grandma that this is not only a very delicious and versatile spice blend but healthy too.
It can be used for dry vegetable curry, sambhar, rasam, on roasted corn, on roasted nuts. It is hard for me to recollect everything I use rasam powder for, but I will keep adding as and when I use it in my kitchen. I have eased it in pumpkin soup and it tastes divine (coming soon)
What is Rasam ?
Rasam is a lentil curry that is served with hot white rice and ghee. Not any lentil but pigeon pea split (Toor) lentil. It is the ultimate comfort food of a South Indian household. It seems like an extremely simple recipe, but the balance of sweet, sour and spice has to be perfect, a little variance shows a big difference in taste. It took me a while to perfect ( still working on it) the taste.
Types of Rasam
Original plain rasam
Pepper n cumin rasam
Today’s post is more about the spice blend which is the main ingredient in rasam. It gives the flavors and the amazing taste.
Rasam can be served as a clear soup too.
What is Sambhar ?
Is a thicker version of rasam ( if I may say so) a slightly different spice blend and it has vegetables in it. Again, it is had with rice and ghee or idlis and dosas. Grind the rasam blend with some additional spices and coconut and you can have a sambhar paste.
There are many South Indian curries, but I don’t want to confuse you. These are the two main versions. Also every region in Southern India has their own version Of the rasam blend. Some regions use garlic and temper it with coconut oil, some ghee, some use tomato for sourness, some use tamarind or a mix of both.
I get very excited when I am talking about spices and blends. I really hope I have done a decent job in explaining. This is the traditional recipe from my mother-in-law, that has been passed down generations. I remember doing a post on rasam way back, when I started blogging. I don’t think I did justice to it at all. I had to re-do the post.
Pepper: 1 cup
cumin/jeera: 1 cup
fenugreek seeds/ Methi (seed): 1 cup
mustard/rai (seed): 1/4th cup
cinnamon/dalchini: 8-10 sticks
coriander (seed)/dhaniya: 4 cups
curry leaves/ curry patta: 2 stalks ( remove leaves from stalk)
red Chili (whole): 2 cups ( if you use chili powder it shld be about 1/3rd of a cup), and 3 cups for a more spicy rasam powder.
Dry roast all the ingredients separately till golden brown and till the mustard and black pepper pop. For red chili (whole) use 1/4th tsp of oil to roast in a hot pan, switch of the flame before you put in the chili just so that its fumes do not send you into a fit of cough!! Remove from the stove immediately for the same reason. In case of chili powder, do not heat the chili powder just add.
Let it cool, grind the above ingredients in a blender or a burr grinder. Make sure the blender/burr is free of any moisture. Note: the burr grinder does not handle whole chilli or curry leaves too well. For easy grinding the red chilies should be crisp. Make sure the burr is set to fine. Grind the spices to a fine powder.
Now mix all the powdered ingredients together with a ladle or feel free to use your fingers. Store in a dry, air tight container. Try and use glass jars for your spice blends, I don’t really recommend plastic.