Kongunadu is the region comprising of western districts of Tamilnadu like Coimbatore, Erode and the surrounding areas. My paternal grandparents are from Kongunadu. My grandmother used to cook various speciality dishes using fresh vegetables from her home garden and like I have earlier mentioned , one can sniff what she is cooking from the aroma that used to come from her kitchen. I have had the luck to taste the amazing rasams that were her signature dishes. My cooking is very much influenced by her.
Rasam is the delicious , healthy South Indian Soup that also acts as a digestive. It is served mid-course during our lunch. The taste of this rasam comes from 'pinju kathirikkai' or baby brinjals . The rasam is flavoured with coriander seeds and fresh coriander/cilantro leaves. Farm fresh brinjals bring out the maximum taste. This rasam also happens to be my father's favourite rasam.
Kongunadu Brinjal Rasam :
Preparation time :5 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml
8-10 baby brinjals
1 tomato (finely chopped)
marble size ball of tamarind soaked in 2 cups of warm water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
To soak and grind :
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons tuvar dal/arhar dal/pigeon peas
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dry red chillies (adjust according to the heat of the chilli)
4 garlic pods
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 sprig curry leaves
small bunch of cilantro leaves ( 1/4 cup )
2 teaspoons ghee/clarified butter
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli ( cut it into smaller pieces)
4-5 curry leaves ( tear them roughly)
a pinch of asafoetida
1. Soak the ingredients given under 'to soak and grind' for 30 minutes and grind them to a fine paste.
2. Cut the crown of the baby brinjals and cut just half way through the brinjals.
3. Boil the brinjals along with tomatoes and turmeric powder in tamarind juice extracted from the soaked tamarind in low flame.
4. When the brinjals have boiled add the ground paste and add another 2 cups of water and salt to taste.
6. Heat an iron ladle/small pan with ghee and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.
7. Pour it into the rasam and mix well.
Your Kongunadu Brinjal Rasam is ready to be served with hot rice and ghee.
You can also try Village Style Milagu rasam, Tam Brahm Style Paruppu Urundai Rasam, Mor Rasam, Veppam Poo ( Neem Flower ) Rasam, Chettinad Rasam and Nellikai ( Gooseberry ) rasam.