Rasam (Pappu Charu) / Cooking at home with Pedatha / South Beach Diet Phase 1 Recipe

Cooking at home with Pedatha is one of the treasured book in my kitchen. I have used so many number of times that the pages are stained with hints of turmeric powder and drops of tamarind pulp. Thanks to Pratibha ji for gifting me this book for a review. I met Pratibha ji during my trip to India last November and all these months, I have been cooking up a storm with almost all the recipes there. The cuisine is very similar to the place where I come from – Tamil Nadu. When I started to cook by myelf I had my hand written notes from amma and achi. I still have them, they are torn and old and I preserve it like a family treasure. Sambhar, rasam, kootu and poriyals are few staple dishes eaten in most South Indian homes. 
Being a South Indian, I try to make dishes that are predominant to my nativity as I want my son to taste and love the dishes his parents had eaten all their life. Pedatha’s home style recipes brings back the aroma of the kitchen I grew up in.   The list of ingredients for most dishes were similar to my original recipes with minute variations like replacing tamarind with lemon juice or vice-versa. But I do refer back to this book for better understanding of the steps. 

What I loved about the book was neat, concise explanations with handy tips sprinkled along the way. The cooking directions are not confusing and are very clear that even my husband who has a phobia for cooking loved its layout. The book clearly gives out the exact meaurement which will make it easier for new cooks. The good thing about this book is limited quality recipes. I hate cookbook with tons of recipes and no pictures. This book has pictures of few ingredients and also gives a glimpse of how the end product will look like. The dishes are well classified under various sections like chutneys, rice, powders etc. It makes it easy for me to pick one dish from each section to plan a complete meal.  

The sepia tone picture of Pedatha reminds me of my achi (grandmother). Her serene look makes you want to go back to the book to try all the recipes. Today, I am sharing the most favourite recipe from the book – RASAM / CHARU. I just noticed I didn’t post a recipe for rasam all these days. How did I miss that? But there are recipes for pineapple rasam, onion rasam and chicken rasam in my blog. Do look for the recipe if you are trying to make something different from usual paruppu or tomato rasam.
I made one small change in the cooking steps. I used my mom’s rasam podi recipe instead of the recipe give in the book. Since I had a huge batch of fresh rasam podi, I didn’t bother to make another batch. Another major different I noticed the use of fenugreek seeds in the recipe. I haven’t used it earlier but from now on I am going to add them even in my mom’s rasam recipe. I highly recommend owing a copy of this book if you love authentic South Indian foods. It’s a bible for home cooked comfort meal.Cooking at Home with Pedatha is authored by Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain. The book was awarded to be the BEST VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK in the world (Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2006).  You can find it in amazon. Do order your copy soon. Until then try this recipe below to see what I am talking about – such precise fool proof recipe.



Source: Cooking at home with Pedatha cookbook
Serves: 4

5-6cups water
1/4 cup split red gram

2 large tomatoes, quatered
3-4 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon charu podi (I have my mom’s and Pedatha’s recipe there)
1 teaspoon asafoetida
10-12 curry leaves
2 tablespoon coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoon ghee
Salt to taste

The tempering
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1. Pressure cook the red gram in 1 cup of water. Churn and set aside.
2. In a deep vessel, heat 1 teaspoon of ghee for tempering. Pop the mustard seeds. Then add the fenugreek seeds. Lower the flame to avoid burning.
3. Add tomatoes, tamarind pulp, charu podi, salt and 5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil.
4. Mash the tomatoes with a ladle and add the cooked gram. Allow to boil for 5 minutes.
5. Just before switching off the flame , add asafoetida, curry leaves and coriander leaves.
6. Finally, pour in the remaining ghee.

Additional notes
1. I enjoy a bowl of this soup in phase 1 of South Beach Diet. This soup can be eaten during phase 2 and 3 too.
2. The peppercorns and coriander seeds in the rasam powder is good for your body as it helps to releive your sinuses and other stomach problems. This hot South Indian soup is so good for you.
3. The ghee helps to lower your body heat. But when on a weightloss regime, use in minimum quantity.

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  1. I love this cook book! The steps/ instructions are simple and the results are spectacular.

    incidentally, I blogged about one recipe from it, just yesterday ( Cucumber chutney).

  2. Love their book very much,am yet to cook from it.. Comforting food.