R.Asam is the equivalent of chicken soup for many people in southern India. It usually has tamarind and tomato tartness, but it’s also brothy, spiced, and has some herbal notes. All these qualities give you restorative and vitality. My rasam has the same essential qualities as the original, but adapted for the cold climate of England. Use split peas and sweet squash That gave us more substance. That is, it can be eaten on its own or with rice, as opposed to being part of the main meal eaten in India.
To reduce cooking time (and utility costs), soak peas in water before bed the day before cooking. You can make it if you forget, but you’ll need to increase the cooking time for the peas to up to 90 minutes.
Preparation 5 minutes
immerse 6 hours or more
cooking 1 hour 10 minutes
200g yellow peas
Pumpkin 900g×1 (I used Delica, but you can use anything)
neutral rapeseed oil
fine sea salt
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (30 g) – use tight taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1¼ tsp coriander
1¼ tsp cumin
Kashmir chili powder 1 teaspoon
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 cloves of garlicpeeled and finely sliced
2 green finger chili,slit
Fresh coriander and basmati rice,serve
Place the split peas in a large bowl, wash well with several changes of water, and drain. Cover with fresh cold water and soak for at least 6 hours.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/Gas 7 and line two medium oven sheets with baking paper (mine is reusable).
Wash the pumpkin, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, compost it, and cut it into 2 cm wide wedges with the skin on. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and toss by hand to coat pumpkin all over. Place on a tray and bake for 25 minutes, then remove and set to one side.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan, add mustard and fenugreek seeds and cook for 30 seconds until popped. Add the drained peas, followed by 1.5 liters of cold water, cover and bring to a slow boil over low to medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, then stir in tomatoes, tamarind, black pepper, coriander, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, 1 teaspoon, and 1/4 salt. He simmers for another 20 minutes until the peas are soft. It should have the consistency of a cooked potato when chewed.
Stir in 2/3 of the roasted pumpkin wedges (reserve the cleanest ones, we’ll use them for decoration later) and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Don’t worry if the pumpkin breaks. It helps to thicken the rasam. If necessary, adjust the seasonings to your liking.
In a separate small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat, and when hot, add the garlic and chili peppers and sauté for 2 minutes or until the edges of the garlic are bronze and the chili peppers are puffed white.
Pour the garlic and chili mix into the rasam, decant into platters or individual bowls, top with reserved roasted pumpkin wedges, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve ideally with steamed basmati rice .