South Indian rasam gets a tangy twist

There is something about the summer that makes us fussy. We want something to whet our appetite. Thank God for season fruits. And this recipe combines the king of them with a famous South Indian dish that is otherwise eaten in all seasons.

Mangaai rassam


20 gms tomatoes

05 gms lentils (arhar dal)

50 gms raw mango

02 gms salt

15 gms curry leaves

1 dry red chilli (whole)

1 gm black pepper

1 gm coriander (whole)

1 gm cumin seeds

2 gms ginger

2 gms garlic

1 gm mustard seeds

1 gm turmeric powder


For the rassam powder: Roast the black peppercorns, whole coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Grind them.

For the mango puree: Boil raw mangoes in water. When the mango is cooked, squeeze the pulp.

Boil the lentils (arhar dal) and keep aside. Then boil the tomatoes with ginger, garlic and rassam powder and strain it. Add raw mango puree and lentils to this solution.

Pour oil into the wok, add mustard seeds, the whole dry red chilli, curry leaves and turmeric powder, and then pour it into the tomato mixture.

Add salt.

Veena Arora-Chef De Cuisine at The Imperial New Delhi

I was born and brought up in Thailand in a small town named Phathalung situated in the south of Thailand and close to the sea and the Malaysian border. My father was in the Indian National Army and posted at Burma (now Mynamar ) during the Second World War, from where he travelled to South of Thailand and settled in Phathalung. Therefore, though being an Indian by origin, I grew up amongst Thais as we were the only Indian family in this town. Our family, therefore virtually lived on Thai food, which we cherished.

Following my marriage to an Indian, I settled in India in 1980 and ever since then I have been living in India. We had a small restaurant in Thailand and as mentioned above, we were virtually living on Thai food. It was, therefore, easy for me to learn about commercial Thai Cuisine. My husband and my two children also developed a palate for Thai cuisines and thus cooking Thai Food at home has also become a pleasure.

I joined Holiday Inn (Now The Lalit) at Babar Road near Connaught Place, New Delhi as a Thai Food consultant during 1994 for their Thai Restaurant, Silk Orchid.

Thereafter I was sent to England for a couple of months by the management to train for their new restaurant, “Blue Elephant” to be opened in place of Silk Orchid in the year 1996. After the Blue Elephant was opened, I left the organisation to join Hotel Imperial as their Consultant Chef for the yet to be opened Spice Route – The South Asian Restaurant, in the year 1996.

Ever since then I have been attached to the Spice Route Kitchen at Hotel Imperial as their Consultant Chef creating various menus for different seasons and occasions all round the year. I also continue to create different versions of the cuisine for the Neo-Thai food lovers owing to the ever increasing popularity of the cuisine. I am proud that today The Spice Route is amongst the best Thai and Oriental Food Restaurants in our country and is also well known all over the globe.

Veena Arora is Chef De Cuisine at The Imperial New Delhi. Having grown up in Thailand, she relishes Thai cuisine and has made it her speciality. She is a known Thai food consultant and has been with Hotel Imperial's South Asian restaurant The Spice Route since its inception.

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