Here’s a last minute entry for the Regional Cuisines of India event hosted by Lakshmi K of Veggie Cuisine, this month being TamilNadu. I was thinking long and hard(I guess that explains “last minute ) to make something uncommon, that Tamil Nadu and tamilians can claim as exclusively theirs… Then I thought what could be better and more unique to Tamil cuisine than Vepampoo Rasam??? Vepam is Neem and Poo simply means flower in Tamil! Indians have known the therapeautic properties of Neem from time immemorial. It has been extensively used in the Indian ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. Read more about Neem here and here and, ofcourse, Google is your best friend! If such a wonderful flower can be made into a delicious tasting rasam(even my 6 year old, savours this!) what could be better ever?? So, here’s my entry for the event….Thanks Lakshmi for coming up with such a nice event! I am sure we all can learn a lot from this!
Dried Neem Flowes (vepampoo) – 1/4 cup
Dal Stock – 2 cups (Pressure cook dal with lots of water and take the stock)
Tomatoes – 4
Tamarind – 1/2 tsp or to taste
Rasam Powder – 1 tsp (or to taste)
Turmeric – a pinch
Oil – 2 tbsp, approx.
Coriander and Curry Leaves
1. Take 2 tbsp oil in a pan, when its hot, put the vepampoo in it and fry for a few minutes.
(Care should be taken not to burn them. The entire vepampoo should be covered in oil, take more oil, if needed. Fry until they turn a dark brown and when it starts smoking, take off heat and keep aside.)
2. Boil together chopped tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric and salt.
3. Add rasam powder and let boil for a few more minutes.
4. Finally, add the fried vepampoo and curry and coriander leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes on low flame.
5. Temper with mustard and asafoetida.
6. Serve with steamed rice and fire roasted papad!