Pepper, Chilli, Cumin Seed Rasam

I had been making Vada for a snack and wanted a rasam to have with them, so we grabbed Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See to make the next rasam in the Rasam chapter of Vol. 1. The flavouring of this rasam is chilli and pepper (sautéed and ground to powder), with untoasted cumin seeds and fresh curry leaves (also ground to a powder). These spice combinations are combined with a tamarind base.

We are about half way through our project of making all of the classic Rasam recipes from Volume 1 of Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. We are loving this project, and adore her books. It would be the only book that I have come across that walks you through how the flavour of recipes change with minor adjustments to the ingredients or method. Cooking through a chapter of her books is like receiving personal tuition in the very basics of South Indian (TamBram) food. These books would be my most treasured cookbooks.

This rasam is flavoured with cumin seeds, chilli and pepper. It is made without Rasam Powder, and grinds the spices as you go. But it is easy to make and very very delicious. It is spicy, peppery, hot, tangy, and so very good.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Tomato Indian Rasam Style, Kottu Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Simple Beetroot Soup | Hot or Cold

Beetroot soup is great all year round, and can be served hot in Winter and cold in Summer. Beetroot is a cook’s best friend, growing easily in the garden and being versatile in the kitchen.

This is a simple soup, full of the unadulterated flavour of the beets. The cooked beetroot is pureed and then simmered briefly with stock before adding sour cream. There is nothing simpler.

If you would like to make a really light stock for a Summery soup, we recommend this one.

If you are looking for other Beetroot Soups, these are similar: Chilled Beetroot Soup, and an amazing Indian Beetroot Soup.

You can explore all of our Beetroot Recipes here, and all of our Soup Recipes here. Or enjoy browsing all of our Late Summer recipes.

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Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Occasionally the local Asian shop has Drumstick Leaves (also known as Moringa, Mungarai Keerai and Murungai Keerai) and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. One of our favourite ways to use them is to make a Drumstick Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.

The leaves, unless very tender, are quite tough to digest, so make sure you cook them well.

This recipe can also be made with the various types of Amaranth leaves.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai Sambar, and Classic Sambar.

Browse our Sambar recipes, and Drumstick Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Masoor Gram Dal with Green Peppers | Whole Red Lentil Dal

I usually turn to mung beans when I feel like a bit of comfort and nourishment, but today it is whole red lentils, masoor gram. This recipe is very simple, very easy, very home-cooking style, and very delicious. It has the taste of coriander and cinnamon, and has green capsicums added for additional flavour and texture. This is uncommon, but not unusual, and we love the taste and texture.

Similar recipes include Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Masoor Sprouts Rice, and Daikon Dal.

Browse all of our Dals and all of our Masoor recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Yellow Pumpkin Soup | South Indian Pumpkin Soup

Today, although it is Mid Summer, it is cooler and wet. It seems right to make soup, although Pumpkin Soup is usually reserved for Winter. This is a South Indian Soup, and the lightness of it suits our Summery wet weather.

Although the South Indian soups are not well known or recognised, I have a love of them which started when they were served each day for 2 weeks in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Home made and delicious, it was instant love. Luckily the Cook and See series of books has a chapter on Indian Soups in Part 4 by Priya Ramkumar.

This soup is a little thinner than what you might expect from a European Pumpkin Soup, but has a creamy texture because the milk is condensed slightly by simmering for 10 mins. It is peppery indeed, but not as peppery as you might think from the amount in the soup. It also has a little sweetness from the pumpkin and from condensing the milk – that sweetens it a little. I love the soup garnished with coriander leaves.

You might like to have a look at other Indian soups. We have South Indian Cauliflower Soup, South Indian Beetroot Soup, and Tomato and Potato Soup. There is also a wonderful Indian Vegetable Stock to use as a base for soups or to slurp on its own. All of our Indian Soups are here.

We have some other Pumpkin Soups too. They include Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley, and Cream of Pumpkin Soup. See other Pumpkin Soup recipes here.

All of our Indian Soups are here for you to browse. Other Indian dishes can be browsed herePumpkin Soup recipes are here and all of our Soups can be found here. Or take some time and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Cumin Seed Rasam

This beautiful but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The flavouring of this one is is definitely cumin seeds, with the cumin being toasted and ground along with with toor dal and curry leaves, before adding to a tamarind and rasam powder base.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Pepper, Chilli and Cumin Seed Rasam, Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Plain Dal Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Cumin Seed Rasam”

Chilled Asparagus Soup

Oh, these hot days of summer! Chilled soups are gorgeous and great for picnics or days at the beach, or just at home. This is a creamy, wonderful, silky soup for those hottest of hot days.

Or really, make this soup at any time of the year when the weather is warm and you can sit in the sunshine. There is no need to wait for Summer.

Some similar recipes that you might enjoy are Quick Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup, Fantastic Avocado and Celery Cold Soup and Roasted Tomato and Corn Cold Soup for Summer.

You might also like our Cold Soup recipes and our Asparagus recipes. Or explore our easy Early Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes.

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Nuts or Zaatar

How good a whole head of cauli looks, sitting in the crisper drawers of the fridge. Such an unassuming vegetable, not assertive at all even with that fascinating form. But it elicits feelings of joy and comfort. Mostly a winter vegetable, it has uses well into Spring time. And here we are, a week from Summer (as I write), making soup from roasted cauliflower. The weather is cool.

The cauliflower could be roasted in the oven, of course, but it is Spring time, so we light the covered BBQ, and roast it in a large pan until really caramelised. The stock gets made while the cauli cooks, and finally it is all blended together. Today, we topped the soup with zaatar, but you could top it with toasted and chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, croutons, or slices of garlic that have been crispy fried.

Similar recipes include Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup.

Please browse our other Cauliflower recipes, and our Soups. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Murungakkai Sambar | Drumstick Sambar With Crushed Curry Leaves

Drumsticks, such a funny name, are stick shaped vegetables that grow on a tree. They are funny, skinny, long vegetables with a hard outer covering that gives them the name drumsticks. You have to be in the know to eat this vegetable, as you would never guess it. There is a soft interior that is delicious. The pieces of drumsticks have to be picked up with the fingers, the exterior is squashed in the mouth and the tender interior can be scraped out with the teeth. You come to love this little procedure. The harder skin, once all flavour is extracted from it, is discarded on the side of the plate.

Drumsticks are particularly delicious in Sambar and Rasam. They are best bought fresh, but frozen drumsticks are readily available in Indian groceries if you can’t find them locally. This recipe is from the classic book Classic Tamil Brahmin Cuisine, such a great book of classic South Indian / Tamil traditional recipes. The method is somewhat different to Meenakshi Ammal’s seminal recipes from Cook and See, in that the tadka is added to the base gravy before the cooked dal is added. Ammal usually also includes tomatoes in her sambar as well, and thickens the dish with a little rice flour or besan at the end. I have added the thickening trick to the recipe as it really does add to the texture of the dish.

Similar recipes include Onion Sambar, Poritha Koottu, Poritha Kuzhambu, Drumstick Kadhi, and Pitlai.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Sambar dishes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Mysore Rasam | First Method

In the end, rasam is just flavoured water. But as Indian food is the most refined cuisine in terms of the layering of flavours to achieve complexity and exquisite balance, flavoured water is amazing! Hot, spicy, tangy, salty, herbaceous, it hits the palate like a flavour bomb, and stimulates all aspects of digestion. I am a lover of Rasam, and am generally found having multiple servings.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

In order to cook the toor dal while I potter around the house and garden doing other things, I have a little trick that I will share with you. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so first thing in the morning I rinse the dal and pop it into a saucepan with ample water. Then it is placed on the stovetop on the lowest heat available. Covered, I know that the dal will be perfectly cooked in 1 hour without me thinking about it. I do check the water level about half way through, but other than that, I can get on with the day without having to watch the pot. Perfectly cooked dal will be ready to make rasam for lunch. Or pop it on when you first get home from work or picking the kids up from school, and it will be easy to make rasam for dinner.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Coriander Seed and Red Gram Dal Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Tomato Lemon Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Cream of Roasted Swede (Rutabaga) Soup

It might be Spring, but some days are cold and windy, and we want the oven on to warm our living area, and we still long for soup with crusty bread.

Today it is Swede Soup – the swede is roasted and pureed with other vegetables to make a creamy beautiful soup. Swede is not a vegetable we use very often but we are working on changing that. It is an interesting vegetable with an undeservedly poor reputation. I would say that it is a shy vegetable, a little rough and ugly when uncooked, but when heat hits those babies, it brings out a sweet, nutty taste. Delicious!

In parts of the world, Swede is called Rutabaga, and in other parts it is called Neeps.

Similar recipes include Pumpkin Soup, Roast Parsnip Soup, and Roasted Carrot and Apple Soup.

Browse all of our Swede recipes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Young Broad Bean Pod Puree

Did you know that you can make a puree of young, vibrant green Broad Bean pods? They must be young, and the simple puree then can be used as a dip, with grilled vegetables and salads, or as a base for a wonderful soup. It does oxidise very very quickly (to an interesting shade of black), so needs to be covered well or made immediately before use.

The taste is green and fresh. I made this with broad bean pods straight from the garden, from about 6 cm long to 12 cm long. I left the beans in the pods, although you can remove them if you want to use them for a different dish.

We love this top to tail eating with vegetables. With broad beans, the shoots can be eaten, the beans of course, the pods as in this recipe, and also the dried beans. A life-cycle of uses.

Are you after more Broad Bean dishes? Try Umbrian Broad Bean Puree, Glorious Five Bean Salad, Dried Fava Bean Puree with Dill, and Tawa Broad Beans. Also try Fava.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and all of our Purees. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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South Indian Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Soup

This is our second Baby Corn Soup; this one includes green beans for added crunch and fresh taste. It is another soup from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, written by her daughter Priya Ramakumar. They are reminiscent of, say, 1970’s style soups – simple, no fuss, delicious. many of them (but not this one) are Anglo-Indian. I adore them – they are such a contrast to other elements of Indian cuisine.

As explained in previous posts, Soups as we know them are uncommon in India. But in South Indian, the TamBram community does make some very simple and un-spiced soups, probably influenced by the British, and perfect for using up left over odds and sods of vegetables.

Rather than being served in large bowls like we might serve a soup, it is served in small bowls, unaccompanied by crusty bread, grated cheese, olive oil for drizzling, or croutons. Actually, it is a really nice beginning to a hot and spicy meal.

Several of the soups in this volume of Cook and See show the growing love for Chinese food in India at the time that the volume of recipes was written. The nod to Chinese fare is created by a drizzle of soy sauce on top of the soup. Baby corn, after all, is associated (probably incorrectly) in many countries as being quintessential Chinese. This Indo-Chinese cuisine is very popular.

Baby corn is available at most Asian Grocery shops.

Similar recipes include South Indian Baby Corn Soup, South Indian Spring Onion Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or browse all of our Indian Soups here, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Quick Gazpacho

Cold soups are all the rage at our place in Summer – the hot Summer days of over 35C, often over 40C, demand cooling foods, yet we still want them to be nourishing and healthy. In our garden there are often tomatoes to spare, and so making Gazpacho, that Spanish delicious cold soup, makes such sense.

This is a quick version, takes no more than the time it takes to wash the tomatoes and peel the cucumber. I like these ratios, but nothing is fixed and you can play around with this delicious blender formula. Add a few herbs, lemon instead of vinegar, a small amount of fresh green or red chilli. Enjoy yourself as you make variations on this theme.

Are you looking for cold soups? Try this quick Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup, Chilled Beetroot Soup, and Roast Tomato and Corn Cold Soup.

What about Cucumber recipes? Try Cucumber Salad with Ricotta and Capers, Cucumber Raita, and Cucumber Lassi.

Try these Tomato recipes – Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Italian Tomato Sauce, and Tomato and Peach Salad.

You can browse all of our Cold Soup recipes, all of our Tomato recipes, and all of our Cucumber recipes. Have a look at our Tomato Soups, Cucumber Soups, or all of our Soups, hot and cold. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer dishes.

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South Indian Carrot Soup

Here is another of the quick soups from Vol 4 of Cook and See – this volume of Meenakshi Ammal’s cookbooks is by Priya Ramkumar. It is a 1970’s style soup, quick and easy, simple and fresh, and surprisingly packed full of flavour. They make great luncheon soups with a salad and some fresh crunchy bread, or a perfect beginning to a heavier meal.

I have written elsewhere about the role of these South Indian soups, so check out the others in this series for comments and my experiences in India.

Similar recipes include South Indian Green Peas Soup, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and South Indian Spring Onion Soup.

Browse all of our South Indian Soups, and indeed, all of our Soups. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or enjoy our collection of Mid Winter dishes.

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