Today's recipe is made out of the grains that are fed to horses, ergo horse gram. Yep! Instead of the toor dal that is traditionally used in rasam, this recipe bases its protein content on horse gram. Horse gram is supposed to have some magical properties such as helping in weight loss. I don't know if that's a confirmed fact or not, but on cold rainy or winter days, it's a good hearty soup/rasam to have piping hot with some steamed rice.
ping pong sized tamarind, soaked in warm waterfor about 30 minutes
2mediumTomatoesI love campari tomatoes these days for rasam, they are juicy and flavorful
1sprig Curry leaves
To Toast In Oil/Ghee And Grind
2dryred chiliesreduce to 1 for less heat
1tspblack pepperreduce to 1/2 tsp for less heat
Pressure cook the horse gram with two cups of water for about 10 minutes (5 or 6 whistles if using Indian pressure cooker)
While it's cooking, extract the juice from the soaked tamarind, to make roughly 2 cups of liquid
Chop the tomatoes, cilantro
Heat the oil or ghee (ghee adds a beautiful fragrance, but if you want to keep it vegan, stick with the oil) in a small pan
Add ingredients listed under "To Toast And Grind" one by one, starting with the dal and toast until fragrant, and not burnt
Take a wider pan/pot in which you will make the rasam, heat 1 tsp of oil, and saute the remaining cloves of garlic, making sure not to burn them
Add the tomatoes and saute a bit, until slightly mushy
Now add the tamarind extract, the curry leaves, salt, turmeric, and hing; boil for about 10 minutes
After the toasted spices cool, blend into a powder or with water into a fairly thick paste; I prefer to make it into a paste as I feel it blends in easily with the soup. If making a powder, make sure it doesn't clump when added to the rasam
Add the paste/powder into the boiling rasam, and boil for a few minutes
By now, the horse gram should be done cooking. Release the pressure gently and safely, and mash the cooked gram with the back of a ladle as much as possible.
Take the watery part of the cooked horse gram, along with a couple of table spoons of the mashed horse gram, and add to the boiling rasam
Simmer until it gets frothy, and take off the heat
Heat another teaspoon of oil or ghee in the same pan in which you toasted the spices, and add the tempering ingredients - mustard seeds and cumin seeds; when they splutter, pour over the rasam, garnish with lots of cilantro
Enjoy as a soup, or with hot steamed rice with a mild poriyal/vegetable such as cabbage or beans.
The remaining cooked horse gram can be made into a dal or a chutney, will soon share the recipe.
Horse gram is considered one of the healthier legumes, and is considered high in iron. It is prescribed in weight loss diets, and is supposed to help with maintaining body warmth in the winter
If you don't like the texture of the horse gram whole in your rasam, you could blend it with the spices
I cooked 1/4 cup of the horse gram and found that for this quantity of rasam, I used only about a third of it; you could reduce the quantity to maybe 2 tablespoons of it if you don't think you would use the rest of the horse gram for anything else