Recipes: Thippili Rasam

One of the forgotten spices in India, Thippili or Long pepper is no longer used in Indian cooking. This amazing ayurvedic medicinal plant or spice has so many benefits that once I started using it, I actually wondered why people were not incorporating it into their cooking.

According to Wikipedia, this spice has been referred to in ancient texts of Ayurveda. It reached Greece in the sixth or fifth century BCE, though Hippocrates discussed it as a medicament rather than a spice. As peppers are wont to be, these are very useful in curing or suppressing coughs and colds.

My kids call this rasam as “Medicine Rasam” and love it when they are sick. You can also drink it as a soup when you don’t really feel like eating and having this on a rainy day is bliss!

It’s not a very difficult recipe, with the biggest challenge being to get the Thippili. You should be able to get it in any Indian stores. There are different versions of the rasam and here’s how I make it…

Thippili Rasam

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small lemon sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water
  • 6-8 sticks of Thippili
  • 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1 cup Toor dal, cooked till it is mushy
  • 2 tbsps Coriander seeds
  • 2 tsps Cumin seeds
  • 4-6 dried Red Chillies (this depends on the spice intensity of the chillies plus your spice tolerance)
  • a pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1-2 tsps jaggery (you can omit this or use brown or white sugar as a substitute)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8 – 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1-2 tomatoes

Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water, then squeeze it out and run the water through a seive to get tamarind water. Discard the paste which is left behind.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tsp of ghee and lightly fry the thippili, coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds and red chillies. Once cool, blend it into a smooth paste along with the tomatoes.
  • Next mix together the tamarind water, asafoetida, salt and jaggery and start boiling it. Once the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, add the ground paste and continue boiling. After 10 mins, add in the cooked Toor dal and continue to boil for another 10 mins.
  • In a seperate, smaller pan, put the remaining ghee and heat it. Then add the mustard and balance cumin seeds. When the seeds pop, add the curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Stir for a couple of seconds, switch off the gas and pour this seasoning over the rasam.

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Delicious Thippili Rasam is ready. Eat with rice or by itself as a soup!

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