Rasam, in Tamil language, means "essence,", "juice" or "soup". Earlier it was prepared mainly with black pepper and tamarind, both ingredients native to and abundant in South India and Yarlpanam in general.
The English call it ‘Millaguthani' or ‘Mulligatawny' but varies slightly in the constitution and means pepper water. Rasam made in Yarlpanam is actually a spicy ‘decoction' made by cooking various spices in appropriate quantities and the juice is used to either drink on its own or mix it with rice and eaten.
Usually it is served when very rich curries like meat, prawns or crabs curries are served. Even otherwise when someone in the family has a digestive problem, this is used to induce digestive juices and enables digestion.
There are different kinds of Rasam depending on the ingredients:
1) Milagu Rasam - Known in the West the Mulligatawny soup
2) Koli Rasam - A Yarlpanam speciality made with chicken broth.
3) Tomato Rasam - With tomato as main ingredient.
4) Parippu Rasam - with lentils as main ingredient
5) Puli Rasam - With tamarind extract as main ingredient and without lentils.
This is a quick recipe called Milagu Rasam or Pepper water. Also this forms a base for all other variations described below;
Coriander seeds 4 tablespoons
Black pepper 2 teaspoon
Garlic 2 cloves
Ginger 1 inch piece
Tamarind paste 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida one pinch
Water 4 cups
Grind coriander and black pepper coarsely. Add Garlic and ginger and grind again into a coarse paste.
Boil the water, add tamarind paste, salt to taste and the ground paste and boil again.
As soon as this boils add the asafoetida and stir and remove from fire.
Koli Rasam OR Chicken Bone Rasam
This is a non vegetarian dish but included here to complete the recipes.
Chicken bones with some meat 250 g - best is the back portion, neck and limbs
Onions 1 small
Coconut milk ½ cup - optional if desired
Lemon juice ½ tablespoons
Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon
Black pepper corns 2 teaspoon
Garlic 6 cloves
Ginger 1 inch piece
Oil 1 tablespoon
Clean and cut chicken bones into pieces.
Grind coriander seeds, pepper corns, ginger and garlic in a grinder into a coarse mixture.
Dice onions and fry in little oil until soft and add sliced tomatoes and three cups of water and boil for 15 minutes.
Add the coarse spice mixture and coconut milk.
Boil and simmer for another 7 minutes. Add lime juice and remove from fire. Drain the gravy through a fine sieve and set aside.
If you do not want to add coconut milk, add one more cup of water instead of milk.
Serve with rice as chicken Rasam.
Garnish: Finish this dish with garnish; Fry diced onions and curry leaves in little oil until onions turn crispy. Add this mixture at the end of cooking to the soup and remove from fire.
If you want to eat the chicken meat then bundle the ground coriander, pepper, ginger and garlic mixture in a piece of linen so that they remain separate. After cooking remove this bundle.
Add some vegetables along with chicken and cook; this will give you a spicy soup to serve as an appetizer.
Tomato is the main ingredient in this recipe.
Same as for Milagu Rasam and Tomatoes 3 and Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon.
Add the tomatoes cut into four portions and boil the water until tomato pieces are soft.
Then add the ground paste, salt, turmeric powder and boil. Once boiled add the asafoetida and remove from fire.
Garnish as in Koli Rasam if preferred.
Lentils are main ingredient in this recipe.
Same as for Milagu Rasam and Mysore lentils 1 cup and Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon.
We prefer Mysore lentils but many use Toor dhal.
Add lentils and turmeric powder to the water and boil until lentils have become soft.
Then add the ground paste, salt and boil. Once boiled add the asafoetida and remove from fire.
Garnish this dish as in Koli Rasam.
Main ingredients in this recipe is Tamarind
They are same as for Milagu Rasam and one more teaspoon of tamarind paste.
As for Milagu Rasam and add additional tamarind paste and boil. Finish as before.