Rasam – I cannot say enough about this wonderful Tamil dish that wakens the digestive system and enlivens the palate. We have quite a number of different recipes. Today’s is one that includes some toor dal, is flavoured with tomato and uses lemon as its tart/sour flavour. It is similar to but much simpler than this Mysore Rasam. We use rasam powder today rather than make a fresh spice mix.
One can’t overemphasise the delicious and nourishing qualities of mung beans. Use the whole green beans for delicious, grounded, darker flavours, and the hulled yellow split mung dal for lighter, summery yet nourishing flavours.
This dal comes again from The Monk’s Cookbook by the beloved Monks on Kauai. A very simple dish but one packed with flavours. Their recipe feeds 20, and I have modified it down to a family meal size. It takes no more than about 45 mins to cook – 35 – 40 for the dal and the rest for the tadka.
Periodically I love to go back to The Monk’s Cookbook as it is a connection to the wonderful monks of Kauai, and because the recipes in this book are always simple, not too much fuss, but tasty and healthy. And this Mung Dal is a true comfort dish, using whole mung beans cooked with tomatoes and a few spices.
Browse all of our recipes from The Monk’s Cookbook, and all of our Dal recipes. Our Mung recipes are here, our Indian dishes here, and our series on Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.
Sometimes, particularly when cooking large batches of dishes, we skip corners and the steps that enhance the complexity and sophistication of the dish go by the wayside. And this is Ok – it still tastes jolly amazing.
This rasam is in that category. The recipe is for 2’ish cups (four small serves or 2 large ones), but it can be scaled up. This is the way that rasam is often cooked when 30 or so people need to be fed, and in our house, it might be made this way when it is 15 mins to dinner time and we just need to get it on the table.
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.
Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.
This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.
You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.
Today’s recipe, Sodhi, is primarily a Sri Lankan and Malaysian-Indian dish, but it is also very famous in Tirunalvelli District of Tamil Nadu in India. This is a simple recipe for the dish which is a thin coconut gravy great for eating with rice or idiappam. Vegetables can be added – drumstick, beans, carrot, potato and the like, for a more filling dish.
The dish is slightly sweet, from the coconut milk, balanced with the tartness of the lemon or lime juice. It is so good it can be eaten as a soup. You might be slurping it long before the rice is cooked.
Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Pumpkin Curry with Roasted Coconut.
This subzi is a quick okra dish, ready in less than 20 mins, and layered with spices. Its a great tiffin dish and can be served with rice and a chutney for a quick meal. Or afternoon snack.
Kuzhambu, a cousin to the Sambar, is easy to make as (unlike Sambar) it usually does not use the time-consuming toor dal. Toor dal can take a long time to cook unless you use a pressure cooker (I do not). Without a lentil to add bulk, Kuzhambu is often like a gravy, and excellent to eat with rice.
This is an easy eggplant Kuzhambu from the Monks who wrote the Monk’s cookbook – a collection of easily prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, perfect for the home kitchen and not dependent on dozens of ingredients. Every recipe is delicious.
You might like to read about the difference between Sambar and Kuzhambu.
Try our Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry too.
Sri Lanka has a wonderful cuisine, layered of course by the cultural backgrounds of the inhabitants. The South Indian influence is strong, and many dishes are similar to the cuisines of Tamil Nadu, but with a twist bought about by local ingredients. This is an Okra Curry, a simple one with only green chillies to spice it, and the okra are simmered in coconut milk. Easy to make and beautiful to eat.