May 17th, 2009
With the ease and convenience of ready made spice mixtures lining the shelves of supermarkets the entire process of assembling, roasting and grinding spices seems cumbersome. Gone are the days when this used to be an intrinsic part of the kitchen culture. However I have never seen both my grandmothers and people from their generation cook with these ready made mixtures. Today you either have to be a hard core chef or simply crazy (as my sister would describe) to grind your own spices.
I have also been guilty of cooking with store bought spice mixtures until I discovered the joy of powdering my own concoctions. Besides the difference it made to my cooking was quite dramatic. I never lose an opportunity to collect notes and recipes from grandmothers, aunts and chefs. I always make rasam with this rasam powder. This rasam powder recipe is based on the recipe of one of my mother’s friends. A wonderful cook, she makes awesome south Indian food. She also uses the same powder to make puliyogare, a south Indian rice preparation.
Rasam Powder Recipe
Roast all spices individually. Cool the spices before grinding them.
250 gm/3 ¼ cups coriander seeds
100 gm/2 cups dry red chilllies
4 tbsp peppercorns
4 tbsp mustard seeds
4 tbsp cumin seeds
4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp asafetida
1 ½ cup curry leaves
3 tsp oil
In a wok or kadhai, heat 1 tsp oil over a medium flame. Stir fry the coriander seeds for about 3 to 4 minutes until they give out a wonderful aroma. Be sure not to blacken them. Keep aside on a plate. Add in ½ tsp oil and roast peppercorns until they turn aromatic. Put in the cumin seeds and roast again.
Add ½ tsp oil and put in the asafetida and fenugreek seeds and roast for about a minute on very low flame, taking care to prevent the blackening of the spices.
Add in the mustard seeds and on medium flame roast until they splutter.
Heat 1 tsp oil, add in the dry red chillies and roast on a medium low flame until crisp, taking care to prevent blackening. Roast the curry leaves until they are fully dry and have no moisture in them.
Powder red chillies first. Mix remaining spices and powder. Allow to come to room temperature. Mix both the powders and use as required.
Yield approx 4 cups