Wednesday, January 31, 2007

JFI: Ginger-Lemon Rasam

This month's theme for Jihva for Ingredients, hosted by Rosie of What's the recipe today Jim? is the...herb? vegetable? spice? ginger. A knobby, gnarly, ugly root that is beloved by so many cuisines. Just the word ginger gives me a warm, cozy, delicious feeling. [It also makes me want to run and hide from my parents' crazy, over-sized, hyperactive Doberman Pinscher named "Ginger" but that is a story for another day]

Truly, ginger brings a lot to the table. My favorite way to consume it in vast quantities these days is via Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies, addictive little morsels jammed with fresh, ground and crystallized sugar. These are the only cookies in the world that I enjoy eating on a regular basis (apart from Parle G, that is).

Today, I am making the simplest preparation with ginger: what should be properly called a rasam-inspired ginger-lemon dal, for it uses more dal than rasams do. A simple lentil preparation with typical Southern Indian spices, it contains plenty of lemon juice and minced fresh ginger. With some freshly steamed rice, it makes a homely meal. By itself, sipped as a soup, it has magical properties: it can clear up sinuses, banish the winter blues, perk up jaded palates and warm you from the inside out.

Oh, and I also want to share my favorite ginger-related kitchen tip: peeling ginger with a small spoon. It really works!

Ginger-Lemon Rasam

(serves 4-5)
1. Soak 3/4 cup of toor dal for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it well and cook it on the stove-top or pressure cooker and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil. Make the tempering using: 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, 5-6 curry leaves, 1 dry red chili broken in half.
3. Add 1 tbsp very finely minced fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp turmeric and stir, then immediately add 1/4 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned) and salt to taste.
4. Stir in 1 tsp sambar powder and the cooked dal.
5. Add 2-3 cups of water to make a fairly dilute dal. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, then add the juice of one fresh lemon and garnish with minced cilantro. Serve piping hot as a soup or a dal!

Thanks, Rosie, for hosting! I look forward to some great gingery goodness in the round-up!


  1. Hi Nupur, Ive always prepared rasam with just the rasam powder. This recipe looks yummy and yet so simple.
    Great to have this soup on a cold winter evening :)
    Though I liked the previous look of ur blog, the new blog looks good too, especially like the Marathi Thali with its background.
    Looking forward to more delicious recipes from ur kitchen :)

  2. This looks like the perfect cure for a winter cold! Thanks for bringing us another great recipe. And yes, the Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies are the world's best, and most addictive....

  3. Smita, you caught me :) I had no rasam powder so I subbed sambar powder...I am sure this is the most non-authentic rasam you have ever seen in your life :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Lydia, I don't even have a sweet tooth but those TJ ginger cookie have me completely hooked!

  5. Hi Nupur,
    The rasam looks very inviting and lovely! I almost made this as my entry for JFI as well, but went completely off track in the end :)

    The ginger-lemon or lime rasam we make usually does not contain any toor is as watery as...well, water and tempered with Ghee. Making this rasam with dal sounds yummy, more filling I guess :) I will give this version a try, thank you for sharing.
    - Roopa (

  6. nupur,love this second version of the about changing the background of the blog as well,to a yellow shade lighter than the one in the banner.white looks open and the content looks dispersed....just my $.02
    will def try this recipe....

  7. Nupur, it looks and sounds delicious! Love your photo of lemon and ginger slices alongside the bowl, too. I would love to try this over rice as you suggest. Also, thanks for the great tip about peeling with a spoon -- I won't dread fresh ginger now :)

  8. Ooh! Nice, Nupur! Just the right drink for a chilly winter evening!
    Nice entry for the jihva.

  9. Hi Nupur,
    Your version of Rasam looks superb!!! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ginger is a good thing - I love my cup of ginger-green tea every morning.

    Thanks for the peeling tip!

  11. Hi Nupur
    Tried your ginger rasam. It is nice and tasty. Thank u.

  12. Hi Nupur,
    Some one has been copying recipes& pics from ur blog. Chk the link below.

  13. Nupur, I've used your recipe here as the foundation for a kind of dal. I'm using red lentils plus most everything else you mention, except I don't have the sambar powder, so I used some store-bought garam masala instead -- a travesty, I am certain! However, the soup is looking pretty good right now, if I do say so myself. ;) I love love love ginger, lemon, cilantro, so I'm really looking forward to eating this soup for lunch. Thanks for the inspiration + help.

  14. Nupur, just wanted to tell you I made your soup again—or pretty close, anyway. :) Simply delicious and so good for what ails one. Thanks again for sharing; this is the gift that really keeps on giving!


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