The other day, I was watching a favourite web series that show cases most traditional dishes and it was rasam being done in that episode. I kept up with the flow and mentioned to my husband that there are so many varieties of rasam that one can make it with so many variations.
Rasam is an ancient recipe that dates back to several hundred years. it is a regular dish in all parts of south India.The show host suggested that looking into the history of food across the region, he had come across hundreds of varieties of rasams. Rasam is light and soup like; it is suggested as healing food because it is cooked with many ingredients that have medicinal value.
I counted out those rasams of which I had known or enjoyed. Then it did come to me that, while I like rasam and it is my to go comfort food, I stick to cooking basic and very regular rasam in my day to day cooking. For a change, I decided to make pineapple rasam and when we spotted four kilograms of fruit selling at a hundred rupees, my decision was sealed. Earlier, a few days into the lockdown,one of our neighbours sent across this rasam which had a very soup like texture. We drank it as is and it was delicious.
My version may sound like the pineapple is just an extension to the normal tomato rasam, because I have used all ingredients that go into my regular fare. You can make it without tomatoes, cut off tamarind and can use simple black pepper and cumin powders instead of the rasam powder.
¼ cup cut pineapple pieces
1 cup pineapple juice (extracted from the fruit)
2 tablespoons thur dhal
1 big gooseberry size tamarind (as much as that would fill a tablespoon while rolled)
1 medium tomato chopped
1 green chilli slit along the vertical
2 teaspoons rasam powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coarsely pounded black pepper and cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
2-3 sprigs curry leaves
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons ghee
1 &1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Coriander leaves chopped
How to make rasam:
Wash and pressure cook the thur dhal with a pinch of turmeric powder until very soft. Once it has cooled down to room temperature, mash well (silky smooth texture). Add 1 cup of water and keep aside.
Extract the pulp from the tamarind adding ½ to a cup of water. A thin, light extract will do as we do not want the tamarind to overpower the taste.
Place a pan on the stove, add the tamarind extract, salt, turmeric powder, green chilli, tomato, rasam powder and asafoetida. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for ten minutes.
Drop the pineapple pieces in this simmering mixture. Also add the pineapple juice. Allow them to cook for a few minutes.
Now add the thin dhal solution to the rasam and bring it to a foaming stage. Add the black pepper and cumin seeds powder. Switch off the heat.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Heat the ghee in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle switch the stove off and drop the curry leaves into this. Add the tempering to the rasam.
Garnish with coriander leaves and close the rasam with a lid to lock the flavours.
Pineapple rasam is ready.
Serve with hot rice and a dash of ghee.