I woke up early in the morning, packed breakfast and lunch for the husband like every weekday. It was around 8:15 am when he tied his shoe laces, took his laptop, lunch bag and was in the driveway about to get into the car when it happened. I was standing on the porch, had my hand on the railing. I thought I saw something in my peripheral vision and before I could react, it was over. All I could feel was mind numbing pain. I jerked my hand instinctively and ran into the house screaming. Poor husband had no clue what happened. He jumped out of the car and came running to me not knowing what happened. Followed me into the house as he realized that a giant wasp had stung me three times on my right arm and finger.
What made the pain worse was that it was my right hand – the one I click my pictures with and the one I use a lot for everything I do through the day. He made me sit down and was running around the house panicked as I was in tears because of the intense pain. He started with some ice cubes but was frantically googling to see what should be done. He then washed my hand with warm water and soap, which eased the pain to some extent. He used a torch and checked if the stinger is inside the skin and insisted that we should go the emergency room knowing my history with bug bites. I felt fine after sometime and he agreed grudgingly to go to work after that.
We did some recon work and found out that there was a wasp hive of the size of a grapefruit just below the railing of the porch. Ya, there were around 10-15 wasps in there. He researched about these wasps and how to get rid of them and came back armed with a can of wasp ass whupping spray from the store. We kicked some serious wasp ass in the evening. Destroyed the suckers !! We joked around saying that the wasps would probably gang up and jump us when we were least expecting it.
As I had my fit bit on when this happened, I saw that my heart rate went from 80 bpm to 111 bpm. It has been a couple of days and the pain has subsided, but I still have swelling and rashes. It is fascinating how our body reacts to situations like this and how the Adrenalin (fight or flight hormone) causes changes in our reaction times. I did some reading on the internet and now I can say that I know a lot of details about wasps, their venom and how the human body reacts to being stung by something.
Phew…That was a long story… So, I got stung, made the husband panic, got my sweet revenge on the damn wasps, became the hive destroyer, accomplished mission wasp and saved the world !! Now coming back to today’s recipe.
Lately, I have been obsessed with peppercorns. I felt like making this mouth watering pepper cumin rasam . It is more like a soup and the star spices are ground black peppercorns and cumin seeds, tamarind pulp and toor dal water (split pigeon pea). Rasam is a traditional south Indian dish. These days I’m using more of peppercorns in my kitchen than regular red chili powder and hot green chilies. It is very soothing and an excellent remedy for cold and sore throat.
Indian moms have been using spices like cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, ginger and honey and to make variety of concoctions to soothe colds, coughs and the occasional sniffles. Black pepper especially is known to stimulate the taste buds and improve digestion which in turn is proven beneficial for the intestinal health. Pepper cumin rasam is also called as miriyala charu in Telugu, menasu saru in Kannada and milagu rasam in Tamil. My mom usually makes rasam during festive occasions along with aloo (potato) curry and lemon rice. I remember my dad always preferred rasam as an appetizer before lunch or dinner.
- Tamarind (size of a lemon)
- 1/2 cup Toor dal (Split pigeon pea)
- 4 cups Water
- 1 tbsp Black peppercorns (Miriyalu)
- 1 tbsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- ½ tsp Jaggery powder
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup Coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- Pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
- 1 dried red chili
- 1 Green chili (Hot Thai chili)
- A sprig of curry leaves
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Serving size 4
Cook time 25 min
Prep time 5-10 min
Passive time 5 min
Recipe level Easy / Beginner
Spice level 5 (On a scale of 1 to 6)
Shelf life 1-2 days in refrigerator using an air tight container
Serving suggestion Warm
- Soak tamarind in 1 cup of water.
- Boil toor dal with 3 cups of water on a medium to high heat until the dal softens. We would need 1 1/2 cup of water from the toor dal. Set it aside.
- Dry roast black peppercorns and cumin seeds in a sauce pan on medium heat for 2-3 min and set aside.
- Heat oil in a medium size pot and add dried red chili, green chili and a minute later add mustard seeds. Once they begin to splatter add turmeric powder, hing and curry leaves.
- Squeeze tamarind juice from the pulp. Add to the pot along with salt and give it a stir. Cook for 5 min.
- Add the water from the toor dal.
- Close the lid and let the rasam simmer on medium to low heat.
- Meanwhile powder the roasted peppercorns and cumin.
- Grind garlic and half of the coriander leaves. Set it aside.
- After 8-10 min the rasam is cooked, add the pepper cumin powder and the garlic mixture to it. Give it a stir.
- Add jaggery powder and stir everything together.
- Close the lid and cook for 2-3 min.
The rasam is ready to be served with rice and a side of onions or any vegetable dish along with papad.
- I like my spice mixes a bit coarse, you could make a fine powder if you prefer so.
- Pepper cumin powder can be stored for future use in an air tight container for more than 2 months. Although fresher the better.
- I used peanut oil for the tempering.
- The rasam can be served both as an appetizer or as an entree.
Happy weekend everyone 🙂 !!