Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Curry Leaves Rasam (Karibeva Saaru)

Few days back, I happened to buy two packets of Curry Leaves from Indian grocery by mistake. Curry leaves are known as Karibeva Pallo in Konkani. The problem is the leaves dry very soon in the crisper of my fridge and the potency is lost in the bargain. Ma suggested a Rasam (Saaru) she has been making using these leaves and she uses this recipe when she has a huge bunch of these leaves. The recipe is very similar to Lemon Saaru recipe, but I tweaked it a bit. The taste is spicy and tangy, a bit unique for my palate.

Few of my friends get roughly powdered  curry leaf powder (home made) which sees them for a few weeks after they arrive to US. Some even oven roast, dry and crush the dry leaves to a powder and store for long term use.

Curry leaves bright and green
Curry Leaves have the following health benefits -
- They help is eye sight and hair growth.
- They aid in weight loss.
- Its also believed to be useful for memory growth and enhancing better cognitive abilities.

In India, everyone owns a Curry Leaf sapling or a shrub (if they are lucky) in their backyard. Its easier to distribute amongst your friends and family which is invariably how my mother ends up with a huge loot of these leaves. In US, no such luck. Whenever I buy those small plastic packets stuffed with the bright green leaves for $ 0.50 at Indian grocery, I feel a bit sad. Its like hapless splurge! In hindsight, I better not grumble as some of my closest friends have to drive for good 15 miles to reach Indian grocery and get their groceries for the week. A sense of self-imposed optimism always works well they say. I envision that some day when I own a backyard of my own, I will plant a Curry Leaf sapling first.

~ Curry Leaves Rasam ~
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Curry Leaves - 4-5 sprig
Grated Coconut (fresh or frozen) - 1/2 cup
Green Chillies (make a tiny slit in the centre of each of the chilli) - 2
Tamarind pulp - 1/3 cup
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Ghee/ Oil

For Seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies (split into two) - 1

In a small frying pan, heat a tsp of ghee/ oil, sear the green chillies gently. Be careful and make sure to make a slit else sometimes due to pressure built in, the chilli seeds fly everywhere. Once blisters are formed on the skin, keep them aside and allow to cool.
In the same pan, roast curry leaves and allow to cool. Grind the roasted green chillies, curry leaves, coconut (grated) to a smooth paste with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. Bring this paste to a gentle boil, add little water, turmeric pulp and adjust consistency and salt as required and cook till the raw flavor of curry leaves goes off. The reduction allows flavors to concentrate.
In the same frying pan used before, heat a tsp of ghee/ oil. Once the ghee/ oil is hot enough, season with mustard seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Pour this seasoning on the cooked broth, cover with a lid. Serve hot with cooked white rice.

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