Recently we were clearing up a cupboard which we had left untouched for months after the shift to this house. And voila I found some treasures. The “Samaithu Paar” book (I hardly have 2-3 cookbooks at home) was the treasure I thought I missed in the shift.
To be honest Meenakshi ammals recipes are the best I like in South Indian Brahmin cuisine. I like her way of explaining recipes and tips to correct errors. I would imagine what this thin fragile lady would have cooked for years for family and relatives in the olden age kitchen! Hats off to her.
When browsing through the index I hit upon a rasam which uses drumstick. I have never heard about this combo and reading the recipe I wanted to give a try. But I felt the ingredients used might make a somewhat blander version. At home Rasam means hot, spicy and very refreshing. So I got the idea and adapted to my own taste.
Adapted from Samaithu Paar of Meenakshi Ammal
Serves 2 as a soup and for 4 when mixed with rice
Drumstick – 2 (2 – 2.5 feet long, the plump variety as you would need just the flesh) or 1 cup of drumstick flesh
Toor dal – 1/3 cup
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic – 3 pods
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander chopped – 2 T spoon
Tamarind – 1 lime sized ball
Peanut oil – 1 T spoon
Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tea spoon
Tomato chopped – 1/4 cup
To be ground to a powder :
Black pepper corns – 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillies – 4
How to make it ?
Cut the drumstick into 3 inch pieces. In a thick bottomed vessel add the cut drumstick and add just enough water till the vegetables are submerged. Add a pinch of turmeric and cover and boil for 5-7 mins. The drumstick should b fork tender. Switch off and let it cook. Remove each piece one at a time and place it in a plate. Opening th drumstick piece with a spoon and holding one end firmly on the plate with the spoon, using another spoon remove the flesh. Take the seeds too. This is the time consuming part of the recipe but you will be done in less than 10 mins. Collect all the flesh and keep aside.
Cook Toor dal as here. Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the pulp hard to extract maximum from the pulp. Filter in a colander and keep aside. Mash the cooked toor dal and mix with the tamarind water.
Grind the black peppercorns, dry red chillies and cumin seeds in a mixie or mortar to a coarse powder.
In a thick bottomed vessel heat the oil. When hot and smoking add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard splutter add the tamarind and toor dal mix. Add the chopped tomatoes. Smash the garlic pods and add. Let this get hot until frothy. Add the ground pepper cumin powder to this and the drumstick flesh and let te mix come to a rolling boil. Immediately switch off the stove and add the coriander leaves and curry leaves and cover. Let this sit for half an hour for the flavors to mingle.
This makes for a flavorful soup for this cold weather with the wonderful aroma from drumstick and the pepper and cumin. Have this as a warming soup or mix it with piping hot steamed rice with some papads on the side. Makes a hearty meal.