By 2000 I was beginning to cook Indian food, or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I moved on to Tamil cuisine and Sth Indian in general.
Often saar is described as a soup. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. Here is a wonderful description from Tickle My Senses.
Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure 🙂 Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!
Saar is the Goan version of the Tamil dish Rasam.
Easy Peasy. This is from a Goan cookbook called “Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation” by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues, that I bought in India. It is sort of the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. Note the Portuguese name of the author – initially it is quite confusing in Goa, where the people attached to those Spanish sounding names will be as Indian as someone called Srinivarsan.
Actually, Goa has at least 3 distinct cuisines – that of Indian food highly influenced by the Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, and that of the Hindu Goan people, which is more vegetarian and more traditionally Indian (at least to my Western eyes). Vindaloo is an example of an Indian dish that originated in the cuisine of Portugal while Goa was under Portuguese rule. And there is Muslim cuisine. This is a recipe from the Hindu Goan people.
|2 Tblspn Toor Dhal||1 cup water||1cm ginger|
|2 – 3 green chillies||1 Tblspn chopped coriander leaves||1 Tomato|
|1 onion||sea salt to taste|
|Seasoning||0.5 tspn asafoetida powder||1 tspn black mustard seeds|
|1 Tblspn chopped coriander leaves||2 curry leaves|
|1 tspn Urad Dal|
Simmer together all of the main ingredients in a small to medium saucepan until the lentils are nearly cooked, half an hour or so. Prepare the seasoning by making a tadka with all of the seasoning ingredients. Add the tadka to the boiling ingredients and boil for a further 5 minutes.
To make the tadka, heat some ghee in a pan, add the black mustard seeds until they pop. Add the urad dal and asaofoetida powder and allow the dal to darken a little. Add the curry leaves and coriander leaves and after a moment, pour the tadka onto the saar.
From the Rasam and Dal Soups Series
- Ginger Garlic Lentil Soup
- Green Mung Bean Soup: Pachai Payaru
- Lemon or Lime Rasam. Sweet, Sour, Hot, Delicious.
- Thakkali Paruppu Rasam – Tomato Lentil Rasam: A Sth Indian Beauty (A spicy tomato based broth)
- Tomato Rasam for a SPICE Hit!