Garlic rasam and Okra curry

If you've noticed, I don't make a lot of South Indian dishes. My parents cook these deliciously, and I've preferred to just eat it when I go home instead of trying to make it myself. I've made sambar and rasam a handful of times, but it's never come out as well as it did on this occasion. I paired it with okra, which is at the top or very near the top of my favorite veggies list. I decided to make garlic rasam and okra curry this weekend, because...what kind of TamBram doesn't know how to make a basic poondu rasam and vendakkai curry??

Rasam ingredients:

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, each clove halved or thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dal (my mom cooks and freezes this for me whenever she visits; dal is one of the easiest things to cook, but I've never made it due to my fear of pressure cookers...see previous post)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard/cumin seeds
  • 2-3 tsp sambar powder (you can use sambar powder for rasam - rasam is basically a watered down sambar with less dal as far as I'm concerned...)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • asafoteida - just a pinch
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • sunflower oil
  • salt to taste

Rasam prep:

Heat oil in a pot and add mustard and cumin seeds. When seeds pop, add turmeric, asafoteida, and sambar powder and cook garlic in this mixture for for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Add enough water to cover the tomatoes. When water is heated, mush the dal until it has a creamy texture and add to the pot. Rasam tastes better when you can't feel the texture of the individual dal pieces. Cook for 10-15 minutes until garlic softens and add salt as needed. Turn off heat and add cilantro.

Okra ingredients:

  • 4 cups okra chopped crosswise
  • 1/ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • sunflower oil
  • salt

Okra prep:

Cook chopped okra in the microwave for 8 minutes. It cooks much faster than cooking it in the fan. With this method, the okra will be a little softer and each piece won't be separated - but the softer okra was what I was going for. Heat oil and cumin seeds in a skillet. Add turmeric and cook for 1 min. Add okra and salt to taste. Cook for about 5-6 minutes (most of the cooking happened in the microwave!). Top with chopped cilantro. Goes especially well with the rasam.

Mix rasam with basmati rice and serve with a side of okra.