Thursday, February 18, 2010


the first time i tasted rasam was last december, when i had a banana leaf rice lunch at a curry house. it's spicy and sour, and reminds one of tom yam, except that tom yam isn't packed with spices like rasam.

i had rasam and french toast for dinner last night, and i was pleasantly surprised with the various tastes. all i know is rasam isnt a shy delicate soup. it's bold and seduces you with it's range of tastes of cumin, tomato sourness, chilli and coriander leaves. it's definitely not for those who are not adventurous enough, but then what's the fun in only eating chicken soup or mushroom soup?

recipe for rasam

500g tomatoes, skinned (to do this, boil the tomatoes first and you'll find that the skins come off easily)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder (i roasted and pounded on my own, because the smell is stronger)
2 cm ginger, pounded
1 1/4 litres of water

put everything above in a pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

1 cinnamon stick
6 cardamom (i don't like the taste, so i only threw in 1)
1 tsp fennel
6 cloves
1 onion, sliced thinly
a sprig of curry leaves
chopped coriander leaves to be sprinkled

fry the dried spices above until the onion slices are translucent. add into the broth mixture. the recipe calls for adding salt while making broth, but i prefer to add in salt in the end.

serve with chopped corianderleaves.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Homemade Plum Jam

Hard times teaches us to be resourceful, and healthy living teaches us that it is better to go through the trouble and bring out all your pots and pans and have a wonderful homemade but preservative-free food.

with those two in mind, i bought south african plums from MaxValu last night - selling at rm1.69 per 100g (it was further reduced to rm1.49). well i thought that was cheap, so i bought a few (cost me rm5++), went home, and started to de-stone the dark purple fruits, cut them into small pieces, and cook them on the stove over a slow fire. i had the chance to pop a few pieces into my mouth, and they were heaven! the plums were ripe, and so they tasted not like the tart, unripe ones, but they tasted more like ripe peaches or nectarine!

when they're cooking on the stove, the red colour from the skin just melted and you will have deep dark almost fuschia like colour. you can add sugar if you want, and it might be better if you can add in some lemon zest and lemon juice. me, i just forgot to buy one last night. the quest for healthy eating has seen me buying no added sugar peanut butter, marmalade for the diabetics and olive oil fat spread. so it's no surprise when i decided to minimalise the sugar used in the jam making. initially i didn't want to add any sugar at all and thought the sweetness would help to mellow the tartness. i was dead wrong, because it was so tart, my face just wrinkled! so i added 2 tablespoons of sugar, and it was definitely an improvement. you should cook the fruits until the mixture is no longer runny. cool the mixture, and then store in an airtight container.

and this morning, in my excitement i ate my homemade bread with such gusto - the jam is a perfect consistency, but it's still taaaarrrttt!!!

anyway, the most important thing is to reduce eating processed food, and to eat cooked food that is not that oily not that sweet and the most most important thing is that, it is cooked with love.