Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rasam -Naagaiyanallur style

Naagaiyanallur is a small village in Tiruchi district. Most families there were in the culinary business. So famous that, they were the most sought after groups in the entire Salem, Trichy, Karur, Erode belt to be hired for every function in the family.They create sheer magic that our tongues will tickle at the mere look and aroma emnating from the kitchens.

As both my parents were born with lot of siblings, there were some big eventful wedding to insignificant, but crowded small functions happening in the family throughout my childhood. Oh we just used to love those days as preparations will go on for days and the house will be filled with all kinds of aroma. As kids we would be fascinated. They were the caterers for my wedding and my sisters' weddings too.

This RASAM is their trademark recipe. I can't claim to have achieved 100% taste. But I know it is sure somewhere in that range. The recipe makes for four servings.

Tamarind -1 small lime size
Tomato - 1 medium
Thoor Dhal -4 tablespponsful
Salt - to taste
Rasam powder (recipe given) -1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida -1teaspoon
Turmeric powder -! teaspoon
Mustard seeds -1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds -1 teaspoon
Black pepper powder, cumin powder -just a hint of each
Curry leaves - few
Coriander leaves - few
Ghee - for tempering

Soak tamarind in warm water and extract pulp until the water is almost clear.
Cook thuvar dhal and half tomato in the pressure cooker. Mash well , mix some more water.Keep aside.
To the tamarind extract, add salt, 1/2 spoon of asafoetida, turmeric powder, the other half of tomato and rasam powder.
Microwave on medium high for 8 minutes.
Add the cooked dhal. Return to microwave and cook on high for 4 minutes.
Temper mustard seeds, cumin seeds and some asafoetida in ghee.Quickly transfer to the rasam. Drop the curry and coriander leaves. Dash a bit of pepper and cumin powders. Close immediately until you are serving at the table. This locks the aromatic goodness.

For best results, the tamarind extract should boil well. Rasam should be off the fire just when it is frothing.Don't boil. The thuvar dhal must be well cooked, mashed and should be thin. Thick paste is for sambhars. Rasams are meant to be lighter.

This rasam is suitable to drink and for rice.Rasavadais will need more thicker base.

Hope you will enjoy this rasam as much as our family does.


Red chillies 2 cups
Coriander seeds 1 cup
Black whole peppercorns and Cumin seeds put together 1/5 cup
Heat in your microwave the redchillies until brittle.
Roast coriander seeds, peppercorns and cumin seeds. Transfer all of these to the jar of a blender and powder to a fine consistency.
If you are getting the powder done in commercial mills, it is enough to sun-dry the contents. However, adding just one drop of castor oil to the red chillies while roasting helps reduce irritation while roasting and also enables longer shelf life.


  1. authentic..Lovely..iam droolin here..have bookmarked it..:)Will sure try this once!!

  2. Your description of it is mouthwatering...

  3. I love Rasam .. such simple comfort food

  4. Nice rasam lata.. always comforting food ..

  5. finally the nagainallur recipe is up!! :) nice write up!

  6. Thank you everybody. Niki, today's rasam really scored A*.

  7. awesomeee! A* with appa, u mean?? :)

  8. Down the memory lane, our native village is Mahadhanapuram about 20 Km from Kulithalai on the Trichy Karur route.We still visit our village every year annually once during December to participate in the AAradhana at Nilamavu Mutt which is under the administrative control of Sringheri Mutt.
    Naagaiyanallur cooks are speially invited during the occassion for preparing the food. The Rasm they prepare with Kada Mark Perunghayam has an amazing flavour and taste. I fail to find an adequate expression to write more on this rasam. Nice seeing a post which I have bookmarked

  9. Thank you Mr. Baskaran. I have only attempted to get somewhere near their delectable cooking.That rasam tastes lingers forever and I can never match it.By the way my Uncle's wife is a native of Mahadhanapuram.

  10. Oh!!! What a coincidence to note that your aunt also hails from the same village. We still maintain our ancestral assets here.Mahadanapuram is a beautiful village situated on the banks of river Kaveri about 20 Km from Kulitalai on the Trichy Karur Rail route surrounded by a thick green belt comprising of Paddy fields and Banana plantations where the native people follow their traditional customs.
    Coming back to the rasam, we performed the Upanayanam of our son for which cooks from Nagayanallur were engaged for preparing the food. We have gathered a few important tips from the chief cook which I thought I can share here with you all. The rasam has to be thin and watery with dhal cooked and mashed well to a fine watery consistency. The tamarind juice has to be boiled in slow fire till the raw smell goes. The main trick is in tempering which consists of mustard, Jeeragam and Milagu in proper proportions. A special variety of Perunghayam called “Kada Mark Perungayam “ is dissolved in water and added to the rasam just before serving. The rasam is liberally garnished with curry leaves and Kothamalli . Yes as you had mentioned the rasam is unique with an amazing flavour !!!!

  11. Mr.Baskaran Thank you once again. With your input above,which I've copied down in my recipe book, I can make the rasam flavoursome and enjoy.I am happy it will no longer be guesswork as far as this rasam is concerned.

  12. instead of cooking it in microwave can u please tell us a traditional way ok making nagainallur rasam

  13. @Vibha, you can cook this rasam in the traditional method as we do with other rasams. Extract the pulp from soaked tamarind, add the salt, rasam powder and simmer until raw taste has subsided. Then add the cooked and mashed thuvar dhal. Allow to boil and then use the tempering.
    Check the comments from Mr. Bhaskar for details on this post.

  14. hello madam lata, are you from namakkal? if i am correct, you are the eldest daughter of sri d.venkatasubramaniam, advocate of namakkal. i am the eldest son of sri r.lakshminarasimhan, advocate.

    l n krishnan kumbakonam


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I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.