My first rendezvous with Pepper Rasam was at the eatery of my school at Vellore. I still remember with fondness my first lunch session at the school and how I was almost at a loss to see an umpteen number of anonymous dishes that were on display at the dining table. I started with rice and sambhar- the two most familiar of the South Indian platters. After finishing almost 5 courses of the meal, I was served a tangy, watery broth with a distinct flavour. Although at first, I was a bit confused about trying this dish from its apparent texture, after finishing my first-day lunch I became a fan of this excellent appetizer which is popularly known as Milagu Rasam (Pepper Rasam).
Since then whenever I have a terrible cold, I end up making Milagu Rasam which is a superb antidote for cough and cold. A bowl of spicy, tangy and peppery rasam comforts your sore throat and also boosts your energy due to the generous use of cumin, pepper, garlic, coriander leaves and tamarind juice. However, you can also make Pepper Rasam without using tomato, onion and garlic or any other spice.
Here’s a quick recipe of Pepper Rasam:
Preparation time: 30 minutes
- 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Curry leaves- a handful
- 4-5 garlic pods (optional)
- 1 cup tamarind pulp
- 1 tbsp. coriander leaves finely chopped
- 2 cups of warm water
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 2-3 dried red chillies
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
How to prepare:
- Soak the tamarind in warm water and make a pulp of it.
- Dry roast the pepper and cumin seeds. In a grinder make a paste of garlic pods, pepper and cumin seeds and keep aside.
- Now, in a frying pan add tomatoes, tamarind pulp, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Cover them with a lid and cook for a few minutes till the tomatoes are tender.
- Add the paste of garlic, pepper and cumin seeds and water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep aside the frying pan.
- In a tempering bowl heat oil and add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, red chillies and curry leaves till all these ingredients start spluttering.
- Pour over the tempering to the rasam and give it a quick stir.
- Sprinkle chopped coriander and serve hot with rice and sambar.
Order Instant Pepper Rasam from Sambar Stories if you don't wish to do all this yourself!