For the last 2 nights I've been reading this book called Monsoon Diary - Reveries and Recipes from South India by Shobha Narayan. Handed on to me by Lalitha, the book is the author's story of her life traced from her childhood days in Kerala to present day New York, interspersed with recipes from South India. The reveries make for fairly interesting reading.
But the recipes, dash them, are too appetizing for a midnight read. Seriously! I ended up snacking on a whole pack of Cheese Twisties last night cozz her Rasam recipe gave me the worst craving. :S (Had to run an extra mile today to make up for the awful sick feeling .. but that's besides the point!!)
So all of today ive been dreaming about Rasam .. hot rasam ... golden brown rasam ... steaming aroma rasam ... tomato rasam .. jeera rasam ... molagu (peppercorn for the uninitiated) rasam ... mmmmmmmmm..... finally when V mentioned Mysore Rasam over chat, it propelled me into action. Ran the google, got the recipe .....
May I pause here for a minute to make a minor (ok fine!!! its fairly major!!!) confession?
Me, the tam bram 26 year old who can make reasonably good Sambar and Vattakozhambhu, who can make rava upma, poha, khichdi and pulao, even pasta, the Italian cousin of vermicelli, COULD NOT make Rasam. UNTIL TONIGHT. For some reason, this simple tomato and tamarind concoction always eluded me under the pretext of unfathomed complexity of preparation. Maybe it has to do with how good my mom's rasam always was, and how i never thought I'd measure up (like most other things eh :D) ... and maybe it has to do with how i never quite stumbled upon the recipe by chance.
................ so got the recipe, printed it out and came home looking forward to making some authentic Rasam. And i did ... most of it was pretty simple, my kitchen's unnecessarily unwieldy construction did pose some preliminary challenges, but nothing a determined mind (and a hungry stomach) couldn't conquer. I even added a dash of handground (yeah, my hands those!) peppercorns and cumin seeds for that rich aroma :) And need i mention that the most perfect accompaniment to Rasam Rice is Potato curry? So that came next ... and i ran off to the gym having set the mood right for my tummy :)
The aroma that hit me when i got back into the house has to be experienced, words don't suffice! :) That was one of the best meals ive had in a while ... and ALL of this thanks to a Ms Shobha something sitting in NY right now and completely clueless about the impact she's having on my life here! :D
So Lalitha, to your question on how the book is, the answer is - positively mouth watering!