Neem flower rasam / Vepamboo rasam is a tangy and slightly bitter rasam and is prepared during festive occasions like Ugadhi and Tamil New year. Neem flowers are well known for its health benefits. In South Indian cuisine, neem flowers in fresh or dried form are used in the preparation of herbal tea, rasam , chutney or health powders. Consuming neem flowers atleast once a month helps in cleansing our digestive system. This detoxifying rasam is prepared by infusing the roasted neem flowers in already simmered tamarind extract along with red chillies, and few other spices. It is served along with steamed rice and a dash of ghee.
Did you know?
Neem tree is also called Nature’s drug store. Every part of the tree has healing properties – the stem, bark, gum flower, leaves and seeds. In Sanskrit, neem flower is called ‘Aristha’, meaning ‘reliever of sickness’ and hence it is considered as ‘Sarvaroganivarini’.
|Neem flower / Vepamboo||1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon|
|Ghee / Clarified butter||2 teaspoon|
|Toor dhal||1 1/2 tablespoon|
|Tamarind||small gooseberry size|
|Turmeric powder||3/4 teaspoon|
|Hing / Asafotedia||1/2 teaspoon|
|Coriander seeds||to garnish|
|Ghee / Clarified butter||1 teaspoon|
|Mustard seeds||1 teaspoon|
- Soak the tamarind in warm water for about 15 minutes. Extract about 2 cups of tamarind juice from this and discard the pulp.
- Pressure cook about 1 1/2 tablespoon of toor dhal with 1/2 cup of water for 3 whistles. Mash the dhal and keep it aside. Add this cooked and mashed dhal to the tamarind extract.
- Add turmeric powder, salt and hing to the tamarind extract.
- In a pan, add 2 teaspoon oil, add the red chillies ( break each chilli into 2 pieces) and curry leaves. Sauté for few seconds in low flame. The chillies should just get sautéed and should not turn black. Add this to the tamarind extract.
- Place the pot containing the tamarind extract, dhal and sautéed chillies on the stove top with the flame on low heat. Let it cook for around 5 minutes so that the raw flavours of turmeric and tamarind goes away.
- When the rasam is about to start boiling add another 1/2 cup of water and a small piece of jaggery. Simmer it for another 3 to 5 minutes until a thin layer of froth appears on top. Switch off the stove.
- In a pan, add 2 teaspoon of ghee, add the neem flower / vepamboo. Keep the heat to low setting. Fry the neem flower in ghee until the colour changes to dark brown. Taste and check the texture of the neem flavour. It should be crisp on biting it. Add this fried neem flower to the rasam.
- Tempering – In a pan, add 1 teaspoon of ghee, add mustard seeds. Allow the mustard seeds to sputter. Add curry leaves. Add this tempering to the rasam.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve with steamed rice and a dash of ghee.