Rasam … the simple term from Sanskrit, and a dish made in every South Indian household is quintessential of what it means … “the essence”. Whoever coined the term for this dish must have realized that it is really the essence of cooking and possibly the soul food for many like me. Whether it be a celebration as a wedding where feasting is looked forward to, a party where it becomes an appetizer, a comfort dish when one feels low, a digestive during sickness, name it and rasam is always there to meet one’s needs. This is one dish where it takes varied forms from its basic ingredients: a sour base, lentil, spice in the form of ready rasam powder or made with freshly ground ingredients, tempering and garnishing with curry leaves or cilantro leaves. Mind you, the tempering in ghee (clarified butter) is vital in bringing out the flavor to the hilt.
Wherever tamarind serves as the sour base one can use tamarind pulp in place of extract from soaked tamarind scales to save on time and for rasam in a jiffy.
Variations of these building blocks with some other ingredients finding their way into the rasam have given way for a galaxy of rasams! Much as I would love to post blogs on every type, I propose to post at least a dozen of them based on the occasions or requirements: Some the most commonly known ones, a few that are not so common and a few innovative ideas!
I do hope my effort in taking this dish to more households across the continents works. Hope you enjoy them and I would love feedback too.