On Real Health this week, I mentioned a traditional South Indian soup that has been my go-to for winter sniffles. In Tamil, Rassam means “juice”. It can refer to any juice, but rassam is commonly referred to as a soup prepared with tamarind with spices and garnish. It has a savoury and spicy taste, which is pungent and flavourful. It is my all time favourite when I feel a sore throat coming on, or if I’m already sick with a cold or cough. All the tangy spices clear up the sinuses super quick, and allow for some inner warming when ill
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 medium size dried red chilli
- 1 sprig of curry leaf
- 1/2 thinly sliced onion
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper corn
- 2 teaspoons of toasted mustard seed
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (I used the Tamicon brand)
- 3 cups of boiled water
- 6 sprigs of fresh coriander
- Heat the oil in a medium sized pot (heat number 4 on the stove), and add the sliced onion. You’ll want to fry this until they are golden- dark brown.
- In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, cumin, black pepper and mustard seed and crush to a medium texture.
- Once the onions have browned, add the spice mix, curry leaves, and break up the red chilli into 1cm pieces and let it all fry for about 2-3 minutes.
- In a bowl, add the two tablespoons of tamarind paste, and to that, add two cups of boiled hot water. Stir the paste until it dissolves fully.
- Now, slowly add this tamarind water to the pot of spices and reduce the heat to 3 on your stove. Add the salt and another cup of boiling water to the pot, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped coriander. It does taste better after a few hours. Best served plain- pour a quarter cup into a mug and sip slowly. Make sure to eat all the spices! That is the medicinal part. Another traditional variation is and serve hot over steamed rice and pan fried crispy potato. Perfect for winter!