Recipes: Ginger Pepper Rasam

GG had been on this Hallyu craze recently and wanted to eat Bingsu at a newly opened shop at the food court near our home. I accompanied her and BB. All I did was take a few bites from them but came down with a sore throat almost immediately! My solution was to make a traditional pepper rasam to which I added some ginger, both which are good for throats. You can also have this as a soothing soup when you are sick or when it is cold and rainy outside.

Ginger Pepper Rasam


  • 1 cup Toor dal, washed and cooked till it is soft and mushy
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes and then the juice extracted
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Blend together the peppercorns, dried red chillies, ginger and 1 tsp cumin seeds with 1 tomato into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Smoosh the tamarind and drain the water into a pot along with the cooked dal.
  • Chop the other tomato into quarters or eights and drop it into the pan.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away, around 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add the blended paste along with salt and jaggery and let it boil till the tomatoes are completely cooked. Switch off the gas and start the tempering.
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and when hot, add the mustard and balance cumin seeds. When they pop, add the curry leaves and asafoetida and stir before pouring it into the rasam.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot as an accompaniment to rice or as a soup


  1. If you don’t have jaggery, you can use sugar instead or even omit it completely.
  2. If you don’t have tamarind, you can either use 1 tbsp tamarind paste (which you can get at any Indian store) or use lemon juice. If using lemon juice, add it according to taste at the very end, just before serving.
  3. If you are planning to have this as a soup, omit the dal and follow the rest of the recipe.

Recipes: Pumpkin Dal

Pumpkin Dal 2The other day, it was just me and BB at home for dinner. S was eating out with friends and R was also out. GG had to stay back in school and so would not have lunch with us. I was wondering what to cook for just the two of us when I saw that a quarter of an orange pumpkin which was starting to go bad. After thinking about what to make, I decided to make a dal with the pumpkin. It turned out great and is super easy to make.  There’s hardly any cooking to be done once you cook the dal and then just lightly temper it.

Pumpkin Dal 3Pumpkin Dal


  • 1 cup orange pumpkin or squash, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup yellow split moong dal, washed and kept aside
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

To temper:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2-3 red dried red chillies (optional)
  • 2 tsp ghee


  • In a pressure cooker, add the moong dal and pumpkin and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or until the dal and pumpkin are fully cooked. and
  • If you are using the stove top to cook, cook it till the dal is soft and mushy and the pumpkin is fully cooked and starts to disintegrate.
  • When the pressure cooker cools down, open and mash the dal and pumpkin together till it becomes a homogenous mixture.and
  • Add salt and red chilli powder to taste and keep aside.and
  • In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. When it splutters, add the asafoetida and the dried red chillies (if using) and pour the tempering to the dal immediately. Cover the dal for five minutes to let the tempering infuse the dal.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or any flat bread

Pumpkin Dal 1

Recipe: Mysore Rasam

IMG_0639This a very typical rasam made in tambram households, yet at the same time, this is not something we usually make on a daily basis. You can call this a version of the arachavitta sambhar, only this is a rasam. In this recipe, you do not use the rasam powder at all, instead of making the masala paste fresh just before you start cooking.

I know of a friend, when she first got married, had a culture shock of sorts as she had to make the paste for sambhar and rasam on a daily basis as her in-laws did not like to use powders for the two items. So what we used to eat on special occasions, she had to cook daily. Now after years of marriage, she has converted her husband to liking rasams and sambhars made with powders, so things are a lot easier for her now.

I made this over the weekend when I was bored of making the same three-four things over and over. It does take a bit of time to make, but the end result is lip-smackingly delicious. You can also drink this as a spicy soup, especially when the weather is cold or rainy.

IMG_0641Mysore Rasam


  • 1 cup toor dal, washed and cooked until done in a pressure cooker or on the stove. The dal has to be mushy and has to be completely disintegrated
  • 1 small, lime-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes and the pulp squeezed and water extracted. Alternatively, use 2-3 tbsps of tamarind paste
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered and halved again
  • 1 tsp jaggery. You can omit this or substitute brown or white sugar instead
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

To be ground into a paste

  • 4-5 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsps grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp ghee

To temper

  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves


  • In a pan, heat the ghee and fry the dried red chillies, peppercorn, coriander seeds and chana dal till they start turning brown. Now add the grated coconut and fry until the coconut loses its moisture and turns brown. You need to keep stirring once you add the coconut, otherwise, the coconut will burn.
  • Cool this and when cool, grind this to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In a large vessel, add the tamarind water,  some water to reach the level of sourness you want, the chopped tomatoes, salt and asafoetida powder and let it boil.
  • Boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away and then add the mashed dal and let it boil for a couple of minutes more.
  • Now add the blended masala paste and let it boil well till it comes together. Add the jaggery if you are using it this point.
  • The rasam will start frothing and at this point, add around 1/2 cup water and when it starts to boil again, switch off the flame and remove the rasam. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • In a smaller skillet, heat the ghee and when it is warm, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the cumin seeds and the curry leaves. Pour this over the rasam. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with hot rice and a vegetable of your choice.






Recipe: Spicy Mixed Dal


One weekend, when vegetables were low and I was bored of making the same dishes all the time, I decided to make something different. So I found this mixed dal recipe from Tarla Dalal and made it with some slight tweaks, based on what I had available in my pantry.


Spicy Mixed Dal


  • 2 tbsps split yellow moong dal
  • 2 tbsps urad dal
  • 2 tbsps chana dal
  • 2 tbsps toovar dal
  • 2 tbsp whole green moong dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of Garlic
  • 1-inch piece of Ginger
  • 4-5 fresh red chillies
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsps (more or less) red chilli powder
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 2 tsps cumin powder
  • 2 tbsps Ghee or oil
  • 1 cup of beaten yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Wash all the dals. Soak them in hot water for 20 – 30 mins and then cook them in a pressure cooker along with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder until mashed well.Allow the steam to escape and then open the lid.
  • In the meantime, blend the ginger, garlic and red chillies into a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • In a small pan, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds, then the onions and saute till the onions are slightly translucent.
  • Now add the ginger, garlic, chilli paste and saute till the oil starts coming out.
  • Then add the tomatoes and the dry spices (remainder of turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder) and saute for a while.
  • When the oil starts to come out, add the yoghurt and stir continuously on a medium flame till the mixture comes together.
  • Pour this gravy into the cooked dal and mix well. Check for seasoning and cook for around 10 minutes till the dal is completely mashed and mixed well.
  • Season with coriander leaves and serve with any rice or roti.







Recipes: Caramelised Onion Pulao


Over the Chinese New Year long weekend, suddenly S’ aunt and uncle said they would be coming to meet us. So we invited them to lunch instead. Since this was literally a last minute invite, I did not have any time to plan a meal and also since the shops were closed for the new year, I could not top up any groceries. So I made a meal with what I had at home. I made this Caramelised Onion Pulao which is inspired by a Sindhi rice dish I’ve eaten at my neighbour’s house in Mumbai called Bugha Chaanwara. I served this with a classic Sindhi Kadhi and some raita. A simple, but very satisfying meal.

caramelised-onion-pulao-1Caramelised Onion Pulao


  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 3 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsps ghee or oil
  • a handful of cashew nuts
  • 2 cups water


  • In a pan, heat the ghee or oil and when warm, add the onions and stir them to brown them.
  • Keep stirring and make sure they brown but do not burn. Stir them until they caramelise and become crisp.
  • Move the onions to the side of the pan and in the balance ghee or oil, add the cashewnuts and let them brown.
  • Next, add the cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds followed by the cardamom pods and cloves.
  • Now add the drained rice and salt to taste and stir well till the rice is completely mixed with the onions
  • Move this mixture to a rice cooker, add water and cook till done.
  • If you are cooking this on the stovetop, add water and check periodically till the rice is completely cooked.
  • The end result is a slightly brown and sweet rice which goes with any gravy.