In traditional South Indian kitchen Neem flower Rasam find its place at least once in a week. It is relished for its aroma and tangy flavor. It also has many medicinal properties, which I will list for interested readers towards the end of the recipe.
Small lemon sized ball of Tamarind
Cooked and mashed tur dal of watery consistency - 1cup
Green chillies- 4 or 5 (according to taste)
Red chillies-1 or 2
Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Ghee- 1 teaspoon
Dried Neem flower – 2tsp
Salt according to taste
Half a teaspoon haldi powder
Small piece of jaggery (optional)
Method of preparation
Soak tamarind in a cup of water. Once the tamarind is soft, squeeze it to extract the juice of the tamarind. Extract the juice into a cooling pan and discard the pulp.
Add salt, haldi powder and green chilies to the tamarind juice. Keep it on a flame till the the mixture comes to a boil and the raw flavor goes off. Add the cooked dal water and simmer for a few minutes.
Heat a small frying pan and add ghee for tempering. Add mustard seeds to the hot ghee and when it splutters add the red chilies (broken to pieces).
When the color of the chillies change add the neem flower and fry on a low heat until it gives out a pleasant aroma and changes to a dark brown in color. At this stage be careful not to burn the delicate neem flowers.
Add the tempered ingredients to the simmering liquid and switch off the gas.
Rasam is not to be heated after adding the roasted neem flower.
This rasam will be slightly bitter in taste and those who don’t like the bitter taste can add jaggery when simmering the mixture just before adding the tempered ingredients.
There is no need to garnish this delicious rasam with curry or coriander leaves as it’ll interfere with the unique aroma and taste of the roasted neem flower.
We can make this rasam without green chillies. In that method we should temper with 5 or 6 red chillies and add it to the boiling tamarind juice. Heat it further for 5 minutes. Roast the neem flowers separately and add the roasted neem flower in the last and switch off the gas.
Neem flower treats digestive disorders like phlegm, excessive bile and intestinal worms. Neem flowers strengthen the eyes and improve their power. Neem flowers bring down the blood sugar level and hence good for diabetic patients. Neem flower enhances the immunity. Pregnant ladies should avoid the intake of Neem flowers as they exhibit contraceptive effects.
Courtesy: Smt. Malathi Jayaraman, Kumbakonam