Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Thursday: Rasam and Carrot Salad


(Cue the blues music) I have felt exhausted and abused at work:
too many meetings...babambabam
too many difficult co-workers...babambabam
too much work...babambabam
too little positive feedback...babambabam
major failure...babambabam
reminders of how menial my position is...babambabam
and finally just deep sadness. Guitar solo.
And, yes, melodramatic is my middle name.

I know the psychologists tell us food is not medicine; but after having my honor vanquished at work, I needed something familiar and comforting to eat while I licked my wounds. (Mind you, now that it has been a couple days, I am filled with vitriol and indignation.)

But, it was First Thursday by Thursday Night Smackdown (on Thursdays) this week, the one time in the month when I adhere to recipes.

I had recently had a conversation with my Greek-American friend about how the best ethnic cookbooks come from cultural associations, temples and churches. There is something universal about those photocopied spiral cookbooks. I have a couple of well-worn ones about the very specific cooking around Mangalore, India (my mother's hometown.) including Coastal Fiesta from the Rotary Club of Mangalore North & Indian Cooking Konkani Style from the American-Konkani Association (Love Indian-American Style as we call it) Not a best seller either or available on Amazon, mind you. Limit Edition wonderfulness.

Two months ago, for First Thursdays, we were instructed to do colorful dish, now we were instructed to use only orange. (Michelle a few burning questions here: what do you have against all the other colors? and will next month's theme be blue?)

I decided to go with my hometown favorite: Rasam with tomato (lentil dal) and Carrot Salad. Yes, now there is a vague oompa-loompa aspect in my complexion having consumed this meal.

While I don't reprint published recipes, this seems a special case.(I would be stunned and pleased if this book is in your library.) Though, I have just read Wandering Chopsticks and Alosha's Kitchen comments on the practice of reprinting. These recipes were created by friends and family members so hopefully I will be okay.


(From paraphrased from Coastal Fiesta; my comments in paratheneses)

1 handful toor dal (I might have put in a little too much)
1.5 cups water

1 small tomato (or 1 handful orange cherry tomatoes), smashed
1 T coriander leaves (mine were fridge-slimy so I didn't add them)
1/4 tsp tamarind paste (this makes the dish)
2 tsp rasam powder (store bought works; or you grandmothers mix from India works too.)

In a small pan, fry the tarka:
1 tsp mustard seeds
7-10 curry leaves (i used 6 because that is what I had)
pinch of hing (another required ingredient)

Add tarka to rasam and serve with rice.

Raw Carrot Salad
(From Indian Cooking Konkani Style)

Basically julienned carrots, onions, green chilli, salt and lime juice. Fresh coconut is an optional ingredient but not my favorite, so I left it out.



La Cuisine d'Helene said...

This is totally a new recipe to me. Looks great.

Anonymous said...

ooooh....don't let the job get the best of your effervescent self.

I have a book called Dawat which is published by the Asian Indian Women in Ohio.I've made some really tasty dishes out of there but not for a while. I'll have to pull it out for a perusal.

maybelles mom said...

Helene: isn't new recipes one of the best things about reading blogs.

lifeinrecipes: Thanks for the support. And, I would love to see Dawat. (In fact, I think I have it somewhere here.)