The Family Rasam

It’s a soup! It’s a broth! It’s a staple for people in the Southern parts of India!

Yet, Rasam changes flavor, ingredients and texture in every home I’ve ever eaten it at. Every family makes it a little different and each have their favorite type! Drink it like a warm spicy soup, or mix it with a little rice for a broth-y rice – either way, the definitely the recipe to warm you up this fall and winter! Here’s our family recipe, from my Aunt’s kitchen, to yours!

Tamarind–10gm (or half teaspoon tamarind paste)
Tomato (soft) — 3
Sambar powder–1.5 tsp (easy to get at a big grocery store/Indian store)
Tuvar dal — 0.5 cup (easy to get at a big grocery store/Indian store)
Tadka/Taste Maker!
Mustard seeds – 0.5 tsp
A few coriander leaves and curry leaves
Cumin powder – a pinch
Pepper (powder) 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Clarified butter/ghee – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Soak the tamarind in warm water and after a while (5-6 minutes) squeeze out the juice. This step I think is so painful that I usually go straight for the tamarind paste.
Boil the tuvar dal and tomato. The lentils should be soft but still retain their texture. , Boil the tamarind juice with in a big pot that is full to about 1/4 with plain water. Add salt to taste and pop in the sambar powder at the same time. Cook/boil the mix till the really raw smell of tamarind disappates and you are left with a less raw smelling more pungent spicy smell (takes a good 20 minutes or more).
Seperately, take the cooked Toor Dal and tomato and blend it till pulped and add to the tamarind-sambar powder water.
For the Tadka:
Heat the clarified butter, pop in the mustard seeds, along with the cumin & pepper asafoetida.
Drop the Tadka in the main pot of rasam. Add curry leaves and coriander leaves in the boiling rasam to add to the flavour.
Time to make: 45 minutes
Feeds: 4-5

The art of blogging?

“You need some oomph, some pizzazz..something!” For a second I thought one of the closest friends I have in London was telling me I’d lost my IT factor! My brain fast tracked to retail therapy, buying low cut dresses with short hemlines and potentially trying out some sort of surgery to correct my lack of oomph!

“Pay attention woman! You’re recipes make even me think I can cook, but…it lacks something! Just a picture of Drake isn’t enough.” That statement definitely brought me back to the ground! She was talking about Cooksahoy! So, with a sigh of relief I put the terrifying thought of surgery and short hemlines behind me.

But it did get me thinking! Now that I’m slowly figuring out the technical side of having a blog (I learn everyday what NOT to do, how to fix something that just doesn’t seem right/to work), though I highly doubt I’m going to learn the fine art of coding, she was right – How do I get eyeballs? Even more important Is Cooksahoy even worth eyeballs?

I put the question to my husband, far more savvy in the art of sales – Should I be a Gordon Ramsey style terrifying blogger? Or maybe ooze some Nigella Lawson style buttery corn? Or a home spun style of the food mogul Jamie Oliver? – He shot all of them down with just a look! “Honey, its not like you studied for 10 years at Cordon Bleu. Just play with it, be yourself and see what works!”

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to find my oomph & pizzazz slowly, but surely. Heck it took Twitter 6 years to come up with a business model didn’t it?

My Soon To Come Massive Diwali Dinner!

Sometimes I feel my love of cooking is one of a myriad ways I willingly shoot myself in the foot. In the next few days, you can expect a flurry of Indian recipes on Cooksahoy – for good reason!

It’s the festival of lights – Diwali, on November 13, 2012. But since it falls so inconveniently on a Tuesday this year, I’m getting 20 of my friends together for a traditional feast on Saturday night. The dinner won’t be at my house this year, but in the home of two of my closest friends. The wonderful hosts have a much larger place and therefore a huge dining table (compared to my tiny kitchen table). But since neither of them can cook, it’s been left up to me to come up with a dinner that would do my mother proud!

I’ve never compromised the flavors from what my mother or grandmother would make,  just because most of my friends in London, are American or European. They seem to love the spices and have told me time and time again, they find no need to ask me to make dishes milder, since homemade Nawabi Indian food is never hot, just beautifully spiced! Now, when it comes to dishes from the south of India, it’s a whole different story! So, for the masses – By popular demand, the menu ranges from street food, to nawabi paneer (cottage cheese) dishes, chicken, Dal makhani to desserts like Gajjar halwa!

No one said cooking for 20 was easy, but for those who regularly make Christmas, Thanksgiving or Eid dinners – you’ll feel my apprehension, exhaustion and adrenelin. I have been told I overdo holiday dinners and that I could make my life so much easier, if I made less – but then again, what would be the fun in that!?

Ingredients etc…

Cooksahoy is based in my kitchen in London. So that pretty much means, I’ll be using all the ingredients that are easily available in any relatively large town or city.

We also eat pretty healthy in my home, so fatty foods will not be something you’ll find here. Even if a traditional recipe calls for something super fatty, I usually find a substitute without sacrificing taste too much! Most people have never been able to tell the difference!

So, let’s get to the things I cannot live without in my kitchen!

A food processor


some great knives & a measuring cup

an Indian pressure cooker (not necessary but sure as heck saves on gas!)

a colander

and that’s pretty much it! Can’t really get simpler than that!

I do have a kitchen scale (bought in the hopes I’d be brave enough to try baking! It’s still in its box waiting for me to gather my courage!)

Cooks Ahoy!

If you are reading this, then you must be a fellow foodie! This blog is my attempt to reach out to other self-taught cooks who think chopping an onion or searing a piece of meat is therapeutic! I’ve been lucky to be able to travel the world and see, smell & taste the cultures of where I’ve been. I’ve also been lucky enough to be born in a community where the food is simply out of this world!

So, if you’re brave enough, do come on this journey with me. I promise to take you to every place that has influenced my cooking – all from my kitchen.

And the best part of it? I love shortcuts, so no complicated craziness, just pure joy in the kitchen, in your mouth & in your tummy! Or at least I hope!

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