Though my mother is an amazing cook, the rasam she makes does not suit my palate. I need something tangy and spicy but her version is catered to satisfy my dad's desire for a not-so-sour, milder one. My (maternal) grandmother's rasam however is just perfect and flavorful in everyway. Growing up, I've helped make it by coarsely grinding the necessary spices on the 'ammi' , which is how she makes the rasam each day - no ready-made powders there. So, I had an idea of what goes in and to an extent how much. My periamma (mom's sister, who follows my paati's recipe) taught me the complete method during one of my vacations...
I remember how my friends used to ask me to make this rasam anytime someone fell sick (during our university days) . I would make it in a huge 'cauldron' so there was lots of it to go around. Since I didn't have a mixie then, my mother used to make a rasam podi with dried spices - sans garlic and pack that for me so I could always make this in a jiffy. Nowadays however I just grind them as and when I make this rasam.
Tomatoes - 1.5 , chopped
Tamarind - gooseberry sized, soaked in warm water & juice extracted
Toor Dhal water - 1 cup, (mix about 2 to 3 tbsp of cooked, mashed toor dhal with water)
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped.
Salt, to taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chillies - 3 or 4
Whole Black Pepper - 7 or 8
Garlic - 1 to 2 small cloves
Curry Leaves - few
Coriander Leaves - 3 to 4 stalks
Tomato - 1/2
Ghee - 1 or 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Hing (asofoetida) - couple pinches
Curry Leaves - few
Dried Red Chilli - 1 (cut into 2) [Optional]
1. Microwave the tomatoes for about 5 mins with a cup of water. Let cool slightly and mash them a bit. To this add the tamarind juice, dhal water and turmeric.
2. Adding half a tomato while grinding will make it easier. Mix the ground paste to the above tomato-dhal-tamarind mixture with salt and required amount of water.
3. Let this heat through on a medium flame. You will notice some foam on the top, just as it begins to boil, remove from the stove.
4. Do the seasoning by heating the ghee and adding mustard, cumin seeds and hing. Then add curry leaves and dried red chilli (if using). Add this to the rasam and finish off with chopped coriander.