Mysore Rasam – a rasam for special occasions in Tamil Brahmin kitchens 🙂
My disdain for rasam is as strong as my love for sambar. In fact, I will happily give rasam a skip at family lunches and wedding ‘elai sappadu‘ (banana leaf meals) – to have a double helping of sambar rice. But there’s one exception to this rule – Mysore Rasam. This is one of the three dishes that are named after the city Mysore, the other two being Mysorepak and Mysore Masala Dosa.
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While most soups in the rasam family are called ‘Saaru’ in Karnataka cuisine parlance, this one, despite being from Karnataka is still called rasam. It is full of flavour from the freshly ground spices, and the dal (lentils) in the spice mix, makes the rasam somewhat thicker than its watery counterparts. Both my mum and grandmum make this rasam often. When there’s Mysore Rasam on the menu, there is no sambar, and rasam gets the position of star of the meal.
I am somewhat lazy to make this often due to the roasting and grinding of spices, plus if I’m cooking for one, it’s too much effort. To sort this out, I prepare the entire masala given in the recipe and use 1 heaped spoon or so, if i am making this just for myself. The rest can be put away in an airtight container in the freezer.
This rasam recipe gets my double thumbs up, and it is a perfect warming dish for the winter evenings. Steaming hot rice, topped with lots of rasam, a spoonful of ghee that melts immediately when it hits the hot rasam-rice, to be had with a good potato roast curry – this is bliss.
The base for this recipe is cooked tur dal, and the quickest way to prepare this is using the pressure cooker. If you are a beginner cook, you may find this video helpful on how to cook dal.