Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lemon Rasam


6 Green Chillies
4 small pieces of about 1/8 inch cubes- ginger
Asafoetida (Ing) pinch
1/8 cup juice from fresh lemon
12 curry leaves
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dhal
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
I tsp ghee
Salt to taste


1. Chop ginger and slit green chillies.
2. Boil them in water for 30 minutes with salt and 3 cups of water. Add more water if water evaporates. Boiling for 30 minutes really brings out the ginger and green chilies taste. Water should have a nice aroma from these ingredients, and may slightly yellow from ginger. Then you know it's ready for the seasonings.
3. Add asafotida and lemon juice when you turn off the heat.
4. While #2 is getting ready, heat ghee in another pan, when ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves. Add this to the water pan when it has completed it's boil.

Another version of Lemon Rasam.
Tasty Tidbits: Rasam (Cultural Facts about this tasty broth!)

Karela (Bitter Gourd) Curry


2-3 Karelas (Bitter Gourd)
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dhal pieces
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp corriander powder
pinch haldi (turmeric)
2-3 broken dried red chillies
4-5 curry leaves


1. Slice Karela into thin slices (the outer covering does not need to be removed), layer on a plate, salt each layer of karela with about 1/2 tsp salt. Let sit 15-20 minutes or longer.

2. Heat Oil with mustard seeds and dhal. When mustard seeds pop add Karela slices, lower heat to low to medium. Karela treated with salt have water and high heat will burn them quickly, though burning does not mean they are done.

3. Add all spices. Fry for 15-20 minutes stirring occassionaly.

Eat small amounts with curd rice (yogurt rice). It will be very bitter still after cooking and yogurt makes a good combination to release the bitterness yet taste the karela.

Vatthal Kozhumbu

1. Imli (tamarind)
2. Tablespoon oil
3. Pinch Mustard seeds
4. Pinch chenna (or toor) dhal
5. 2-4 red dried crushed chilies
6. 2-4 green chilies cut lengthwise
7. Pinch ING (Asafetida)
8. 4-6 curry leaves (or more as per your taste)
9. Pinch vendhyam (Fenugreek seeds)
10. 4 cups water
11. 2 tsp sambar powder
12. Pinch turmeric
13. Salt to taste
14. 20-30 sundakkai vathals (or as per your taste)
15. 1 to 4 tsp rice flour


Step 1:
If you have block Imli (ingredient #1) soak a golf ball size of this in warm water (1 cup) until soft. This can be done while doing other steps.

Step 2.
For ingredients 2-9. Heat oil and add mustard seeds (ingredients 2 and 3), when they pop, add ingredients 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Fry till they are browned. Put to the side.

Step 3:
Strain and squeeze the water out of the soaked imli pieces out and put he 'imli water' in a sauce pan. Heat it adding 3 more cups water (adding four for #10) sambar powder (#11), turmeric (#12) and salt (#13). Also add all the fried spices at this time (from step 2.) Heat till a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes. More salt may also be added at the end as per your taste.

Step 4:
Dry fry the vatthals till a smell comes. Add the vatthals to the liquid and continue boiling.

Step 5:
This will be liquidy, whereas kozhumbu should be thick. To thicken we add rice flour (#15). Leaving the heat on, while boiling, add one teaspoon, and stir, wait a few minutes, stir it. Keep adding one more teaspoon of the rice flour and stirring until it is slightly thick. Four teaspoons should be enough.

**Kozhumbus com in different varieties. Kozhumbu is a thicker sambar. The closest translation for Kozumbu in English is gravy.

Keep this sitting for some time before eating. It is really good if you eat it later in the day or the next day, the flavor will be very nice.

Eat in small quantities with plain rice or curd (yogurt) rice.

There are also various kinds of vatthals. It may be possible to substitute another variety of vatthal in this recipe for another.

This recipe was originally posted in my yahoo group.
Photo in post taken by Jennifer Kumar.

Other Vatthal Kozhumbu Recipes
Vatral Kuzhambu - Sriranjini