Hot rice and piping hot rasam with loads of palya (vegetable) is one simple meal I really enjoy any day. Give some good pickle to go with it and it becomes a gourmet meal for me. Rasam or saaru being a staple in the South Indian meal, I can never get bored of eating it. I like eating on a plantain leaf for the flavor it imparts to food, specially if the food is hot. We tend to eat more of rasam as compared to rice and its difficult to eat on one if you are not used to it, particularly rasam. I normally make it with rasam powder, but hugely relish a change now and then. Hubby is not much of a rasam person, but likes this relatively non-spicy variation.
Nimbe Hannina Saaru or Lemon Rasam, along with a lot of other traditional recipes, bring back memories of my childhood visits to my maternal grand-parents' home. The huge family comprised of lots of Uncles and Aunts, cousins, Tatas and Ajjis( as a kid left me confused as to who was who) and a few people who served the family for generations. The house had 2 huge kitchens with one of them meant for cooking lunch and snacks, the other one for the evening meal and cooking during festivals. The regular rasam was part of lunch and the Lemon Rasam was what was prepared invariably with the rest of the dinner. And how we used to anticipate and love eating it, with home-made ghee and the subtle smell of food cooked on wooden fire stoves.
I can still close my eyes and smell the rasam the way my grand-mother made it, but can never really bring that taste to it she brought. She had scores of small spice boxes on her kitchen shelf from which she would put 'something' into the huge vessels of food and it would taste magical. I do wish she were alive today, the foodie in me would have loved to pull out her culinary secrets...
Here is an attempt to share one of my most favorite dishes, hope you do enjoy it as much as I do..