19 January 2014

Saaru Anna - Comfort food

Saaru is the Kannadiga version of Rasam, at least in my family. And it's comfort food for me. Here's my recipe. This recipe is for N, to make when I am unwell. Picture coming up.

A memory: My dad was in the Air Force and in the summer holidays we would pack up for Chandigarh, his last posting. Two months of loitering about on a large campus filled with peacocks, trees and protocol. Each meal was eaten in the Mess. Where, ahem, you used cutlery, to eat everything. No fingers touching the food, at all. For my sister and me, this was the only sore point. Your meal would be staring back at you, and the easiest thing would be to scoop it all up with your fingers, but you couldn't. You had to use the blasted fork to fill up the spoon and then balance it just right to get it into your mouth, without spilling it. Let's not even visit how we were supposed to eat a Roti. Also, this was food in the mess, in the north, in summer. You got small tinda, big tinda and asymmterical tinda. Moong dal or tur dal. Seviya or custard. Day in, day out. So, at the end of the holidays when my grandma asked what would like to eat on our return, I promptly said, Saaru (Rasam), Anna (rice) and hurlikkai palya (beans palya). This type of watery stuff can only be relished through the fingers!

  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 Tur Dal, cooked with pinch of turmeric and hing
  • 1 tbsp Saaru (Rasam) Powder
  • 1 tbsp jaggery (Gud)
  • Juice pressed from lemon sized Tamarind which has been soaked in warm water
  • Tadka: Ghee (1 tbsp minimum), mustard seeds, jeera, kadipatta, red chilly
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add ghee. Melt. Add ingredients of Tadka in order they have been written.
  2. Add tomatoes. Add 1 cup water. Cover with lid. 
  3. Allow tomatoes to cook. Take potato masher and pulp up the tomatoes.
  4. Add dal.
  5. Add jaggery and tamarind water.
  6. Mash again.
  7. Boil for 2 mins.
  8. Add Rasam powder. Adjust water content as per taste.
  9. Boil till aroma floats about and permeates kitchen.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves
  11. Pour on to rice and consume.

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