This is a recipe for a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of dal or vegetable. This type of plain rasam is characterised by being made from water, tamarind and spices.
The recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See and she has three methods for making this rasam – each one treats the one teaspoon of toor dal that contains, in a different way. I have detailed Method 1, and this is Method 2. (Method 3 is included in the Recipe Notes at the end of Method 1.)
You might like to read about rasam powder. Rasam powders vary as much as rasam recipes themselves. It is interesting to note that most recipes that specify rasam powder (rather than individual spices) are not clear about the type of rasam powder to be used. For example, if your intention is to make a plain rasam without toor dal, Meenakshi Ammal recommends using a mix that does not contain large amounts of toor dal. That is the case with this rasam. So if you are going to make your powder fresh for this recipe, choose one without much toor dal. But, really, if you have some already made or purchased, it will still work really well, so use whichever type you have. Even Sambar Powder will be Ok.
I garnish with coriander stems as I love the sweetness of them more than the leaves.
Kottu Rasam | Plain Rasam | Method 2
Source : adapted from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 1
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
1 tspn toor dal
tamarind – a lime sized piece, or use tamarind paste
0.75 tspn rasam powder
1.5 tspn salt
a pinch asafoetida
5 or 6 curry leaves
a few green coriander leaves
2 tspn ghee
1 tspn black mustard seeds
4 dried red chillies, broken in half
1 stalk curry leaves
Make 2 cups of tamarind water and place in a saucepan. To this, add salt, rasam powder, asafoetida and curry leaves. Mix well. Bring to the boil and then simmer to reduce it – about 20 mins.
Now add enough water to make up to 4 cups. As it comes back to the boil, remove from the heat.
Make a tadka of the mustard seeds, toor dal, chillies and curry leave in the ghee and add to the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves or chopped coriander stems and curry leaves.
It is best to use a raw or roasted rasam powder for this recipe – one without the inclusion of large amounts of toor dal. (See this article for an explanation.) But any rasam powder will be fine.
Tomato can be added to the tamarind water. If tomatoes are used, the amount of tamarind can be reduced accordingly. Tomatoes are used as a slight souring agent, hence the reduction in tamarind.
Sambar powder can be used in place of Rasam Powder.