Lemon rasam with piping hot steamed rice spells out ‘comfort food’ to me. It is go-to food for the husband and me whenever we are under the weather or just need something light to eat. With the addition of some fried vadams and a simple potato curry, this rasam-rice combination becomes a platter from heaven! If you have a sore throat or are feeling feverish, fear not, this rasam has the power to soothe you like nothing else.
Interestingly, I learnt this recipe from the husband’s sister – she is an amazing cook of South Indian dishes, and this is the very first thing she taught me to make. I’ve been in love with this lemon rasam ever since. I like the fact that this is such a simple thing to make, not calling for any grinding or pre-made rasam powder, and is yet so very satisfying.
Now, let’s check out how to make this lemon rasam, shall we?
Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings):
- 1/4 cup toor daal
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped finely
- Juice of 1-1/2 lemons, or to taste
- A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
- A few fresh curry leaves
- 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
- A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
- 1 tablespoon oil/ghee
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- Wash the toor daal thoroughly in running water. Pressure cook it with just enough water to cover it entirely. Give the daal 4 whistles, and let the pressure release naturally. When the pressure has gone down completely, mash the cooked daal well so that it forms a homogeneous liquid. Keep aside.
- Heat about 1/2 cup water in a pan. Add in the finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Let cook on high flame for 2 minutes. This will help extract the essence and fragrance of the chillies, ginger and curry leaves.
- Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Add salt to taste. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, adding a little more water if required.
- Add the mashed toor daal, turmeric powder, as well as about 2 cups of water. Cook on medium-high flame till the mixture comes to a boil.
- At this stage, check for salt. Add more salt, if required. Switch off gas.
- Add the lemon juice to the mixture in the pan. Mix well.
- In another pan, heat the oil or ghee. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add this garnish to the rasam in the other pan.
- Add in the chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Your tasty lemon rasam is ready! Serve hot with steamed rice and your favourite curry.
- Increase or decrease the amount of toor daal you use, depending upon the type of consistency you want for the rasam. We prefer keeping it runny, but not overly watery.
- Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use, depending upon how tangy you want the rasam to taste.
- Make sure all the seeds are removed from the lemon juice before adding it to the rasam. This will help you ensure that the rasam does not turn bitter.
- Country tomatoes are best for making this rasam. They are more tangy and juicy, and add a whole lot of flavour to the rasam. However, in the absence of these, farm tomatoes can be used as well.
- You can strain out the chillies, ginger and curry leaves and add only the extract to the rasam. We prefer keeping them in.
- You could add a dash of chilli powder to the rasam, if you feel it is too bland for you. Alternatively, you could add more green chillies, to suit your taste preferences.
Do you like rasam? What are your favourite ways of making it? Tell me, I’m all ears!