I've been making this repeatedly the last few weeks, and it has amazed me with it's fresh simplicity and elegance, as well as the incredible flavours and textures all layered up to make a sweet, sour, spicy, warming bowl of goodness that is far more impressive than the sum of its parts. Don't be out off by the long list of ingredients, they are mainly things you throw into the broth to add flavour and require zero attention.
The pouring over the bowl at the table makes it all rather a showpiece, so it can be a dinner party number just as easily as a weekday supper for one.
The basic idea heralds from Southern India, but it is so perfect for a chilly winter day. And you can easily switch out any vegetables you want to use as long as they're fairly leafy and not in need of a long cooking time.
For the Rasam broth
- salmon fillet each, sliced very finely on the diagonal
- handful spinach leaves
- 1/2 baby bok choi, sliced
- 2 shiitake or oyster mushrooms
- 2 leaves of curly kale, de-veined, sliced
- fresh red chilli
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 cherry tomato, quartered
- 1 heaped tsp tamarind paste
- 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
- 1/2 inch fresh turmeric, chopped (or 1/2 tsp ground)
- 1/2 red chilli
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 15 stalks coriander, (stems removed and chopped)
- 1/2 lemongrass stalk
- 4 curry leaves
- 250 ml chicken or veg stock
Start with the rasam. In a medium sauce pan heat the coconut oil gently and add the mustard and cumin seeds stirring gently until the popping starts. Add the tomato and stock and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile in a pestle and mortar crush the ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, chilli, coriander (stalks only) and garlic until you have a coarse paste. (Or use a blender to blitz but be careful to leave it as a coarse paste).
Scrape the paste into the simmering broth and leave infusing on low heat for up to 5 minutes while you make the bowl.
Assemble the vegetables around the inside of your large soup bowl, with the sliced salmon and chilli slices on the top.
Purists will sieve the rasam , crushing the tomato to let the juice out, but you could leave it if you're feeling lazy and you don't mind a few chewy mouthfuls.
Reheat until just boiling and then serve pouring the hot liquid over the salmon and veg. it will all be lightly cooked, but do cook further if needed.