I’m one of a rare breed within my Palakkad Iyer community. I don’t like Rasam! This is so unusual that I cannot tell you the number of times it raises eyebrows. My daughter on the other hand, absolutely loves her Rasam. Her favourites include Tomato Rasam and Garlic Rasam, and most recently this Plum Rasam.
If you’re new to Rasam, it is a Tamil lentil based spicy and tangy pungent broth like dish. Rasam is usually eaten with rice, vegetables and crisp pappads, but it can be drunk like soup. Rasam means “essence”. It can also mean enjoyment and juice, depending on the context. Rasam usually has very little vegetable in it, and when it does it usually is pulpy. The flavour in Rasam can come from anything that fits well with a spicy-savoury-tangy flavour profile. You can find versions of Rasam across South India.
Plums grow in India in areas enjoying temperate climate. So plums grow in the Indian states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. They also grow in the cooler climes of the Nilgiri hills in South India. We enjoy a very a short season of plums and I don’t always see them here at the stores.
I did get a couple of kilos this year and was looking for ways to use them up. I’m the only one in my home who likes plum as fruit. I generally have to disguise them to get my husband and daughter to eat them. A couple of friends, Niv and Deepa, suggested Plum Rasam when I asked for recipe ideas. Ripe plums here tend to be juicy, a bit sour and sweet and perfect for the Rasam flavour profile.
I have made this Rasam pretty much like I make Tomato Rasam. A couple of plums are cooked in water, skinned and pulped. Another two plums are quartered and cooked with the pulp in a tangy tamarind and lentil based liquid and Rasam spices. It is finished with a tempering of a couple of spices in ghee. Plums make for a Rasam that can only be described as delicious, at the risk of sounding repetitious.