Soup-er savers: Rasam, soup for the cold

by | Nov 2, 2023 | Arts & Life

Don’t expect ice-cream inside an ice-cream tub in my aunt’s house. 

Instead, expect the one thing that most South Indian mothers claim to be the cure for literally everything! 

Introducing Rasam (pronounced raa-sm), a traditional dish famous in the South of India and in other parts of the world where the Indian diaspora exists, like where I come from, Malaysia. 

I remember my mum preparing it for my sister and I during the pandemic, claiming it had some beneficial components that could fight Covid-19. A doctor is certainly one of the many roles a mother will play when push comes to shove. 

Since it is rich in ingredients, it’s true that Rasam has various health benefits. Some advantages of consuming rasam include improving gut health, assisting in weight loss and acting as an antioxidant. As the weather continues to get colder, this recipe could be helpful on a chilly day in Edmonton, as rasam is a comfort food that can keep your body warm. 

The ingredients are as follows: 

  1. Black pepper
  2. Cumin 
  3. Turmeric
  4. Onions 
  5. Garlic 
  6. Tomatoes 
  7. Tamarind Juice 
  8. Water 
  9. Salt (to taste)
  10. Coriander leaves (optional)

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but surprisingly, preparing rasam is quick and easy. The way we cook it, there are no perfect measurements for ingredients, just estimations. Back at home, we call this process “agak-agak,” which means guess or estimate.

Roughly grind ingredients one to six together. Next, add them to a large pot and pour one cup of tamarind juice and four cups of water to the ground mixture. Boil the mixture, then leave it on the stove for another minute before turning off the heat. For a finishing touch, add some finely chopped coriander leaves for extra flavour. Add salt to taste. 

When the weather gets frosty, my aunty has taught me a simple yet efficient trick to tweak the rasam recipe and give it an enhancing kick. She adds extra pepper and cumin to the rasam for stronger taste and health effects, which helps the body deal with the unpredictable drops in temperature.

There are also grander forms of rasam, such as Chicken Rasam and ‘Nandu Rasam’ (Crab Rasam), but for the sake of cost and simplicity, just rasam will suffice. 

Another benefit of Rasam is its versatility, You can have it with rice, as soup, or you can take rasam ‘shots’ before heading out to take shots elsewhere.

If you’re thinking of saving some cash, rasam is cost-effective. It can last for weeks if kept frozen. Simply reheat it, and if you plan on having it with rice, anchovies and fried eggs go amazingly well with rasam. 

And there you have it, rasam! A simple, affordable and delectable meal. Indeed, a potpourri of ingredients combined and boiled together, giving you the right antidote for the wrong weather. 

Rasam may or may not be your bowl of soup, but hopefully this article and my poem below convinces you to try out this soup-erb recipe! 

Have some
wholesome rasam,
and save income
this Autumn.

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