Red carrots and other winter goodies like RASAM……..

Ah! I woke up this morning to a distinct crispness in the air. With half of Bombay sneezing in your face and the other half submerged in the early morning smog , it’s apparent that the winds have changed. And the cold winds from the north have brought in something else – the red carrot .

Bhaji gully and all fresh produce  markets are displaying red carrots or the Delhi carrot which like the Delhi peas announce the start of a new winter season. Mumbai in winter is like a pleasant summer day for most of my North America cousins but for me it is a time for  fresh mackerel, gajar halwa, pea samosas and lots of other winter goodies. What bliss it was to walk down the lane around 11 in the morning when the vegetable vendors have just piled their baskets with fresh produce that is bursting with health and goodness.

Fiery hot rasam

What is perfect for a nippy afternoon especially when your nose is dripping with a cold that is not really a cold but is good enough to bother you, is the RASAM or fiery pepper water that opens up all the sinuses and drains out any trace of a cold.


  • So this afternoon I got down to making my sure fire remedy for a cold that is not a cold The fiery hot pepper water aka RASAMI put 4 tablespoons of Toor dal or Split  Pigeon Pea legume (for those purists who insist on English names) with twice the amount of water to cook in the pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles.While the dal was cooking I got together the following ingredients
    • 1 Tbspn oil
    • 5 curry leaves
    • 1/4 tspn Mustard seed
    • 1/4 tspn turmeric powder
    • 1 ripe red tomato finely diced
    • 6 green chillis slit lengthwise
    • 1 tablespoon of dried

    tamarind which I soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander to finish off

And here’s what I did:

I put the oil to heat in a bowl and after it was hot, added the curry leaves and mustard seed. I allowed the mustard seed to pop before adding the turmeric powder and the tomato. I let the tomato sweat a bit before adding the green chilli and pepper powder. If you add the chilli before the tomato, the whole house begins to cough with the vile aroma that emanates from the pot. I then added some water and squeezed out the sourness from the tamarind which I added to the pot. ( No I did not add the tamarind but the sourness from the tamarind – a good example of a dangling modifier) . I brought the whole mixture to the boil .

In the meanwhile the dal was done, so I took it off the heat and removed it from the pressure cooker. I blended it together and bunged the whole mixture in the bubbling pot. I let it bubble and boil for some more time before adding salt and freshly chopped coriander.

I turned off the heat, covered the pot and let it sit till the heat from the pepper and chillies permeated the concoction before having a sip of the divine Rasam…….mmmmmmmmmmm just try it for a nose dripping and sinus cleaning experience.


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An accidental cook who likes to travel, read, watch movies and do yoga. Currently busy with full time granny duties.

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