The word 'Rasam' in Tamil translates as 'essence'. Traditional Rasams are clear, spicec broths that are served as a second course along with rice in a traditional South Indian 4 course meal. (the First being the thick stew like Sambhar, the third being dessert (Yep, the dessert is served as the penultimate course between the savory rasam and the palate cleansing yogurt rice course), and the final course being Yogurt rice).
Rasams are either made using a pre-prepared spice blend (the most common method) with cooked dals added in, or the blend may be prepared fresh ( a slightly cloudier broth but all the more vibrant thanks to the fresh flavors). —Panfusine
Rasam broth paste
split pigeon peas (Tuvar dal)
dried arbol chile
scalding hot water
Noodles & broth
rice noodles (thickness as per your preference)
salt to taste
finely slivered fresh ginger
curry leaves, torn
Salt to taste
lime, cut into wedges
serrano chile, deseeded & cut into thin rings (optional)
soak the ingredients for the paste in scalding hot water for about 15 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste.
Combine the paste with the water, turmeric, salt, ginger and curry leaves and bring to a boil until the coriander seeds lose their 'raw aroma' (~ 5 -10 minutes after it begins to bubble ). In the meantime prepare the rice noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and snip into manageable lengths using a pair of kitchen scissors and keep warm.
Heat the clarified butter / ghee in a skillet and add the cumin seeds when the ghee is near smoking hot. Once the cumin seeds 'split' , immediately add this tempering to the broth.
Divide the noodles into serving dishes. Pour the Hot broth over the noodles. Ideally the lime is added to the broth once it is done, but this also prevents the broth from being reheated, since the lime imparts a bitter note to the reheated broth. SO serve it alongside the noodles and let the guests add it individually as per their taste. You may choose to fish out the curry leaves prior to serving.
Serve the noodles and broth along with the lime wedges, serrano chile rings, and the cilantro (I personally love the cilantro, but for those with the soapy tasting gene, the cilantro can be a bit over powering in this otherwise mild rasam broth.