King Soup aka Rasam

2016-04-10 18.06.59I’m sick. This is probably the 2nd sickest I’ve ever been that I’m aware of. I think I was super sick as a baby/toddler and I had to be hospitalised and got lumbar-punched. I don’t remember the incidence, but I do have a pretty epic scar as proof.

Anyway back to adult-Anneline, the worst sickest I’ve ever been was last year. I was super sick – but not quite the flu, not quite a cold. It was like a bit of both with something else thrown into the mix. And because I’m me, and eat health 90% of the time, exercise etc. and do what needs to be done to maintain health and wellness, I didn’t expect to be majorly unwell.

As it happens, I passed out… x2 and after driving myself to my GP (shock!), my doctor wanted me immediately hospitalised… due to a majorly bad virus infection that if we didn’t still it’s progression, was starting to present symptoms in line with viral meningitis. Essentially viral meningitis is majorly bad: you can lose limbs, hearing and your life. So yeah… not good…

Anyway, thank God and my parents and my doctor, I bounced back.

However this year, I got walloped again. Totally out of the blue. Sick as! Three days into a new HiiT boxing program, I could feel a ticklish sore throat coming on. No coughing, but something was askew. A call home and BAM! Mum was like, “You need to get flu day & night tablets, you need to sleep, you need to take lemsip right now, Anneline, right now. Call me when you are at the pharmacy. I’m waiting.”

And as it happens, I got sick. Super sick. Second worse sick that I can remember. Not quite the flu, not quite a cold, but thankfully not quite viral meningitis either. That said, I have no voice. A great thing for a lecturer… My throat is so raw. And my body feels totally strength-less. But then again, if you’re on a diet of hydralyte, Lemsip and grapes, what do you expect?

I’m grateful for the fact that I meal prep. There were a couple of containers of pumpkin soup in the freezer. Bonus. As well as roasted chicken drummets. However, while the soup was satisfyingly smooth and delicious, it’s too heavy for my vomit-sensitive tummy. The chicken tastes great, but they scratch my very sore, painful throat.

Last night, driven to crazy from sore throat pain, I decided to eat some homemade nectarine ice-cream, even though mum told me no dairy. Truth is, apart from the sore throat I was on the mend. Then I ate ice-cream – felt nice on the throat at the time, but boom! Dairy is food for viruses. And today, I’m back to super vomity sick. Ugh!

I decided to go to the doctor. But today is Sunday and my GP is not at work today. I’m a fuss pot – unless it is a life and death situation, I don’t like not seeing my GP. So I’ve booked in to see him tomorrow. However today, I feel like mud. And my family are 2000km away. Dad calls me to see how I’m doing and immediately suggests ditching the pumpkin soup for “Rasam” aka “King Soup”. It is called King Soup because it is the bestest soup, ever!!

Every time someone is starting to get sick, mom gives us a big bowl of this steamy, spicy, water based soup. It’s seriously amazing. King Soup combined with lemon-ginger concentrate and Vicks rubs are the best! And they work. But I don’t know how to make Rasam, let alone where I’d be able to buy it from. And there we have it, my dad tells my mom and my mom calls me with the recipe.

This Rasam soup recipe is from my mom, who got it from her mother-in-law (my dad’s mom), who got it from her mom (my great-grandma), who got it from her mom (my great grat-grandma) who was transported from India to South Africa by the British during the great British colonisation era. My GG Gma probably got it from her mom, and the story continues. But now it has been passed onto me. And now I am sharing it with you.

This soup is packed with spices and garlic – perfect for clearing the sinuses and boosting the immune system. You should do this in a pestle and mortar. if you don’t have it, you could roughly pound it with a rolling pin. Usually we just have the soup base. But to give me some more energy and protein (considering I’m not doing the best right now), mum also told me to add split peas. I’m glad I did. So good.

So here it is, Rasam – aka King Soup. It’s medicine, but in food form.

5 cloves whole garlic (unpeeled)
1 tblsp cumin seeds
1 tblsp mustard seeds
1 tblsp whole peppercorns
3 dried chillies / 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tblsp oil
1 small onion
3 tblsp tamarind paste
1 l water

  1. Take garlic with skin and smash in pestle and mortar together with cumin, mustard and peppercorn.
  2. Heat oil in medium sized saucepan on medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and saute in oil. When onions starts to change colour and become translucent, add garlic and spieces + chillies (broken up if using whole).
  3. Braise for 1-2 mins then add tamarind and water.
  4. Add ½ cup cooked yellow split peas (preferably channa dahl as it holds its shape better).
  5. Allow to boil for 5-10mins.
  6. Add salt to taste (~1/2 tsp).
  7. Make sure you eat EVERYTHING – including the chunky garlic.

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This soup is a little sour from the tamarind and has a spicy kick from all the spices. But is so good. I like drinking rasam by the mugful, like a tea. But if you add the split peas, you will need a spoon :-).

Thanks mum.

Enjoy.

 

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