Narthangai Rasam is made from the citrus fruit Citron (English). Citrons are one the earliest fruits among the citric group and the unripe ones are referred to as Narthangai in Tamil. High in Vitamin C, this fruit is highly popular in the Southern parts of India, especially Tamil Nadu. They are usually converted to preserves – either as a spicy pickle or a just dried salted pieces. A traditional Tamilian will vouch for the combination of curd rice (thayir sadam) and Citron pickle or preserve (narthangai oorugai).
I remember, when I was young, the dried salted pieces were a staple in our family kitchen. They would usually be stored in jaadi (ceramic jars), especially made to store pickles and preserves. As kids, we would always visit our grandmoms on holidays and gorge ourselves on food & then post meal, suck on the narthangai piece to stave away indigestion, acidity or just to refresh the mouth. Not just this, the meal would also have narthangai rasam or sometimes lemon rasam.
A major difference between the citrus based rasam and any others is the amount of boiling time and when the juice is added. Citus juices should never be boiled or they turn bitter. These sour and highly flavourful juices have to be added at then end, after the flame is turned off.
So go on, get ready to make another one of grandma’s dishes.
- 1 no. Narthangai (Citron fruit raw)
- 1 no. Tomato Ripe, Finely Chopped
- 1 Green Chilli Slit
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Oil
- 1 tsp Jaggery
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- Few Curry Leaves
- A Pinch Asafoetida
- Coriander Leaves To garnish
- Salt to Taste
- 2 tsp Pepper seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Red Chilli
- Cut the narthangai into half and squeeze the juice and keep it aside.
- Grind the ingredients given for rasam powder coarsely.
- Heat a kadai under medium flame.
- Add oil and temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
- Reduce the flame and add the ground powder and fry for a minute.
- Mash the chopped tomatoes in hand and add them to the kadai.
- Add green chilli, turmeric powder, jaggery and required salt.
- Add required water and cook the tomatoes well.
- When the foam starts forming on top, switch off the flame.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and pour the juice.
- Mix well and serve with hot rice.