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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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

Notes:

  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: Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Carrot Sweet Corn Soup 2

Last week faced with an almost bare fridge and a family who didn’t want the usual lunch options, I was confused about making lunch. Then I remembered some organic fusilli that S had bought some time back and decided to make a simple Pasta salad. To go with that, I decided to put together the last bits of carrots and sweet potatoes I had and made a soup. The soup was a resounding success. BB loved it so much that he didn’t want dinner, but just had the soup again (this is notable because he does not like carrots nor sweet potatoes!)

Carrot Sweet Corn Soup 1

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5-6 pods of garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 4-5 fresh red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water or stock as required
  • Ground pepper (optional)

Method:

  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil and when warm, add the garlic and fry till slightly golden brown. Then add the ginger and red chilli and fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the onions and fry for a while, letting it become translucent.
  • Now add the dry spices – salt, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and fry for a few minutes.
  • Then add the chopped carrots and sweet potatoes and saute till they are completely cooked. If needed, add water as required.
  • Cool completely and blend to fine paste either using an immersion blender or a conventional blender. Pour back into the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Serve hot with croutons and some freshly ground pepper.

Carrot Sweet Corn Soup 3

 

Recipe: Moong Dal Khichdi

Moong Dal Khichdi 3This is one of BB’s favourite dishes. I too like to make this because this is a fairly easy dish to make and since it’s a one pot dish, you don’t have many dishes to wash post cooking. This is also good to make ahead and just cook it when you need to eat. It is also very versatile as you can play around with the ingredients, especially the vegetables.

Moong Dal Khichdi 4Moong Dal Khichdi

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup yellow split moong dal, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts, soaked in hot water for 20-30 minutes
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato, chopped finely
  • 1/2 carrot, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1 potato, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Method:

  • Once the rice and dal have been soaked for 20-30 minutes, drain them and keep aside.
  • Drain the peanuts and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and saute the cumin and fennel seeds. When they pop, add the garlic and saute for a few seconds and then the ginger and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add the sliced onions and let it brown. Once the onions start browning and start to become translucent, add the other vegetables one by one.
  • Now add all the dry spices – red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and let it cook for a few minutes and then the dal, followed by the rice, stirring in-between.
  • Transfer this mixture to a rice cooker and add 1.5 cups of water and cook till done.
  • If you are cooking this on the stove top, keep an eye on the water levels and add more water, if needed to cook the rice and dal to the consistency you like.

Moong Dal Khichdi 2This is a complete meal in itself with carbs from the rice, protein from the dal and fibre from the vegetables.

You can add other vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, beans etc to increase the nutritive value of the meal as well as if you are planning to make for more people. The above recipe was perfect for a single meal for four adults.

This can be served with crisps or chips and a raita of your choice.

Moong Dal Khichdi 1

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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: Rasam Soup

Over the weekend, GG fell sick with a sore throat as she had been busy in school with rehearsing for the Singapore Youth Festival as well as rehearsals where she was emceeing an event in school. So on Saturday evening, she asked for some soup as well as rasam to soothe her throat.

I checked recipes for soups, but nothing really looked exciting, so then I decided to combine a rasam which is meant to soothe an illness and make it into a soup. I called this a rasam masquerading as a soup! This had all the goodness of all ingredients good for you and was spicy and yum!

Rasam Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 small lime sized ball of tamarind or 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 1-2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4-5 garlic pods
  • 1-2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves

Method:

  • In a large bowl, cover the tamarind with warm water and keep aside for 20-30 minutes. When the pulp is soft, squeeze it and get all the tartness out of it. Discard the pulp and strain the water and keep aside. Add this to a pan and add 2 cups of water (more or less depending on how sour you like it to be). If using tamarind paste add it to around 2 cups of water in a pan and keep aside.
  • In a blender, blend the garlic, ginger, tomato, peppercorns, dried red chillies and cumin seeds to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  • Heat the tamarind water and add salt and half the asafoetida and let it boil for a while till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.
  • When the liquid is nicely boiling and the raw smell has gone, add the blended paste and stir well. Add salt if needed and let it boil for another 7 minutes. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water and when it starts to boil again, remove from the flame.
  • This step is optional. In a smaller pan, heat the ghee and when warm, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves plus the balance asafoetida. When it pops, pour it over the soup.
  • Enjoy the hot, spicy and garlicky soup!