Lemon rasam – Elumichai rasam
Warm, light and lemony soup from the South Indian kitchen, full of flavours in every sip. We have it more like a soup and just skip dinner. Easier for the cook and easier on the stomach too. Replacing the traditional tamarind with the fresh lemon for a fresh and tarty mouth cleanser during a full meal.
Arhar dal also called Thora paurppu is the split de-husked form of pigeon pea. Soak it in water for 15 minutes before cooking. The soaked pulse cooks well and is easy to mash.
1 fresh lemon
15 peppercorns semi crushed with a mortar and pastel. It gives a fresh aroma which a ready made powder can never match upto.
Also known as Devils dung or food of the gods. is a resinous gum. Read More about it here.
Gives the freshness to the rasam. Reduce it to half chilly if the spice tolerance is low.
The dried red chill gives the flavour and spice with the depth in it, unlike the fresh green chilli.
Fresh crushed cumin while cooking and a bit more of it while seasoning.
A traditional rasam is made with tamarind and tomato as the base. But this being a lemon rasam we will increase the tartness by just the tomatoes and substituting with lemon.
Generally we use the fresh leaves for seasoning or the tender part of the coriander stem. But the rest of the coriander but for the root can also be used when added and cooked with the food.
I am a sucker for garlic in many of my foods. Roasted garlic in the seasoning will give out a strong aroma. If you want a mild aroma and consume garlic for its health benefits, add it while cooking and the flavour will be much milder.
Turmeric adds colour to the food and is a disinfectant too. Buy an organic turmeric powder, or powder it at home from the roots as we so widely use it in our food and would definitely want the purest form of it.
This rasam is sufficient for a family of 4, with approximately 1.5 lt water in it. Reduce the water if you want the rasam to be a bit thicker than this. AS i said we enjoy it more as a soup than with rice.
Variations to the lemon rasam
Replace the lemon with Orange, but this time just add the juice in it. Don’t allow the orange slice to cook in the rasam as the rind might give out a bitter taste,
The tin coated vessel I used
As a nod to the old traditions, I have switched many of my daily use cookware to the traditional hand me downs I have received from my grandparents, parents and In-laws. Today I have used my brass vessel handed down to me from my parents. Brass is an alloy made of 70% copper and 30 percent zinc. This is a layer of tin applied in the inside of the bass vessel. Why do we apply a layer of tin in a brass or a copper vessel ? The one line answer to this is to avoid absorption of higher levels of copper into our foods. Then why make a copper or brass vessel at all ?
Here is what I have gathered.
Cookware in which copper is the main structural element like the one above, is manufactured without a lining. These are made for cooking of preserves or meringues or non acidic foods, because the amount of copper absorbed is negligible and essential for the human body. But if the same cookware is used for cooking foods which are highly acidic and are cooked for a longer period of time, acute amounts of copper leaches into the food causing copper toxicity.
So we need a vessel which is all purpose, long lasting and non reactive to all types of food. Brass or copper vessels are lined with a thin layer of Tin or silver. Both are non corrosive and non reactive elements. Silver being expensive we use tin as the affordable layer for lining the inside of the vessels. Copper or brass as an outer layer will help in uniform distribution of heat hence making a perfect cookware.
This thin tin layer also erodes in a few months of continuous cooking and it has to be layered or coated again. This process of lining a vessel with tin is called as “kalai ” in hindi and ” eeyam poosara pattarai” in tamil. In the process the tin as we know is going into our foods but has been researched and confirmed that it does not have any side effects. I have provided links in my website to understand what a kalai wala really does, and detailed videos of the process. He places the brass or copper vessel on fire, and pumps air on to it. He sprinkles Aluminium Chloride powder on the inside followed by a small piece of tin which touches the hot interior. The tin gets coated as a very thin layer all around the vessel. The vessel is as good as new.
Here is an interesting video on kalaiwala’s
Tips to make a perfect lemon rasam
1. Keep all the flavours in balance. over use of anything is not going to make the dish better.
2. Mash the dal well for a clear consistency of the rasam.
If you try this recipe and love it, please leave a comment and a rating. This helps us grow and reach many other food lovers like you, who want to understand the science behind the food, and use the tried and tested recipes.
- Pressure cooker
- 1/2 Cup Thuvar dal Cooked and mashed
- 2 Pieces medium tomatoes finely diced
- 4 Pieces Garlic (optional)
- 2 Piece Red Chilli
- 2 Piece Green Chilli Slit
- 10 Piece Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Asafoetida
- 1 Handfull Coriander stems
- 1.5 Lt Water
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Oil / Ghee
- 1 tsp Mustard
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 fistfull Coriander chopped