Last few weeks, the weather has been playing truant in Pune, where I live. It is typically the beginning of Summer otherwise and the days were beginning to get very hot and dry, while the evening and early mornings were pleasantly cool. But then suddently, then unexpected heavy rains lashed the city for a couple of days! It never rains in Pune in February-March, and the rains brought a fair bit of chill in the air and respiratory illnesses shot up with the changing weather. I was feeling a bit under the weather myself; and needed some comfort food. My friend Natasha makes this south-Indian style broth (called rasam) using tomatoes, coriander seeds and lots of black pepper which is absolutely capable of clearing those blocked sinuses ensuing a bad cold. I wanted some body to my soup; so I modified Natasha’s original recipe to add some lentils and make my hot, South-Indian style Lentil Pepper Rasam.
1tbp Chana Dal (Split and dehusked Chickpeas);
1tbsp Urad Dal (Split and dehusked Black Lentil);
1tbsp Tuvar Dal (Split and dehusked Pigeon peas);
1tbsp Moong dal (Split and dehusked Green gram);
6-7 Safed mirch (white pepper corns);
10-12 Kali mirch (black pepper corns);
1 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds);
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped;
3-4 cloves of garlic, with the peel on and bashed with the back of the palm;
1 tsp Oil;
Salt, to taste;
A few sprigs of coriander leaves, chopped.