This Celery Rasam is the perfect solution for those of us who buy a packet of celery to make stir fry, then proceed to use like -2 stalks…and then have no idea what to do with the rest of the bunch… No judging, I’m one of you guys/gals too!! 🙂
Rasam is a South Indian style soup. Celery is one of the 3 components of the French Mirepoix (onion, celery, carrot) often used to develop good stocks. So, just intuitively, you know it will make a flavorful broth. And with that gut instinct, I went ahead and added South Indian flavors and V’ola it just seamlessly made a good rasam.
This celery rasam recipe is also a great option for folks who have a sensitive stomach, battling GERD related issues or avoiding the nightshade family of vegetables. This recipe has no tomatoes or no tamarind. The slight tartness of the celery juice is enough to give a mild yet flavorful rasam.
People who prefer a stronger, more tart and spicy rasam can add pureed tomatoes, or tamarind and just add more spices to counterbalance the acidity.
Celery Rasam (South Indian Soup)Course: Recipes
A healthy, tasty soup made from celery, lentil broth and flavored with roasted Cumin-Pepper powder.
Celery – 1 bunch
Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) – 1/4 cup
Sambar Powder* – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Black Peppercorn – 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves – a small bunch
Oil or Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – Few
- Pressure cook Toor dal with 1:2 water until it is mushy. (about 10-12 minutes in Instant Pot. While the lentils are hot, mash it with the back of the spoon to make it smooth.
(South Indians usually cook extra dal, set some aside to eat directly with rice as a protein-rich source for kids.)
- Wash 1 bunch celery well and chop into pieces
- Grind celery pieces with 3 cups of water
- Drain the juice into a pan. Filter out the fiber, we will only be using the juice.
- Bring juice to a boil. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir and bring heat down to a simmer.
- In a small pan, roast 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp pepper for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Powder this and keep it ready. This spice mix is the soul of the rasam!!
- Back to the rasam – Dilute the cooked toor dal (lentils) with water and bring to a boil before adding to the celery stock. This will ensure easy emulsification into the stock water. Never add cold toor dal to rasam liquid, otherwise the lentils will settle to the bottom without adding any flavor.
- After adding the lentil water mix, let the mixture just foam up on the surface. Switch off the heat. Now, just let the residual heat absorb all the flavors of the herbs and spices to be added.
- Make a quick tadka/temper to pour on the rasam. Heat oil/butter in a pan. Add mustard seeds, wait for it to pop. Add curry leaves, let them crisp up in the hot oil.
- Add tadka, the ground cumin-pepper powder, chopped coriander leaves to the rasam. Done!!
- Let all the spices/herbs steep in the rasam. Serve while hot!!
- If you don’t have Sambar Powder, you can substitute a mix of coriander+red chilli powder, or store-bought curry powder. You could even skip it. The sambar powder just rounds out the flavor.
I asked my daughter how was the rasam? “You mean, other than the fact that it looked a little green?”, she replied with a smile. “It was good, tasted like a regular rasam.”
Both my kids slurped it up with rice. My husband felt it could have been a bit spicier. But, it is a balancing act to get the kids to really enjoy it vs making it spicier. So, I just gave him a spicy chutney on the side to counterbalance the mild flavor.
What is your favorite rasam? How do you balance the needs of all family member’s spice variations? Post your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to reading them.
Extra nerdy info: Have you looked at celery in different shades of green in different supermarkets and wondered why?
Gardening Know-How: Learn About Blanching Celery In The Garden explains that when celery has a bitter taste, chances are it hasn’t been blanched. Blanched plants lack green color, as the light source of celery is blocked out, which results in a paler color.