Saturday, September 24, 2011

#155 Ultimate Remedy for Colds with Fried Fish

While it's still warm outside, my thoughts turn to frying fish today! The girls are home this weekend and since the weather is fairly pleasant I can set up the saucepan outdoors and pan fry some fish.

Here's my simple fish fry and warm lemon rasam.  My family enjoyed the butter fish that I brought home from the fishmonger's last night. Served with a simple meal of lemon-tomato rasam, steamed rice this fried Kerala style fish was fresh and crunchy. V said "it brought back some tasty memories from Grandma's home".

It has been brought to my attention that I mention many unique ingredients in my recipes which has raised a few questions from my readers. Some of my foodie friends asked very interesting questions, so I decided to share a little info about my ingredients with you.  This time the focus is on 'Asafoetida'. Although I use it oftentimes in my kitchen, I had never given much thought to it until you brought it up and I appreciate that.

I did a little research about this ingredient and found that it had many different meanings, but the most common one is that Asafoetida is a type of resin obtained from the root of the plant called Ferula Asafoetida in English(don't get me wrong it is not a sticky goeey gum we throw into the food). The gum is processed or solidified and is more like a piece of rock when it is available in the store. It is a spice used for boosting the flavor of certain authentic South Indian soups and gravies and is also called Hing(Hindi) or Kayam(Malayalam).  One of the many characteristics of this spice is that it promotes digestion. Many describe it's aroma as 'pungent and atrocious', it surprised me because I disagreed with that-I admit it may be a little strong in the raw form. A pinch or two when cooked into the tempering oil releases the flavors into most vegetarian gravies such as a Rasam or Sambhar and has a beautiful flavor. The secret is to use it sparingly-- just like the right amount of any ingredient in the right combination enhances the flavor of any single dish you are preparing. Anything in excessive quantities is sure to be 'atrocious'. The raw form of this ingredient is like a hard solid block and you can chip a little off each time, roast and powder to get a nice aroma. However, nowadays it is widely available in powdered form in a little canister resembling salt shakers used for sprinkling. I just couldn't imagine a Rasam or Sambhar without this ingredient because it would never have the same authentic taste.

My instant Asafoetida Powder  Shaker

Here's a little wikipedia info on Rasam
Rasam is the 'chicken soup' of South India. It is a great homemade remedy and hypothetically leads to temporary relief from colds as my father(although he was a reputed scientist) always said! There must be some truth to this, 'cause Rasam has helped me recover from the discomfort of nasal congestion. A South Indian soup prepared with tamarind and pepper along with tomatoes and my ingredient 'asafoetida'.  I replaced tamarind with lemon juice in this version and added fresh ripe tomatoes.

Tomato Rasam

Ripe Tomatoes- 2
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Mustard seeds, methi seeds, whole red chilli for seasoning
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tspn
Black Pepper- 1/2 tspn
Garlic Cloves- 3
Asafoetida- 2-3 pinches (as much as you can tolerate)
Turmeric Powder-1/4 tspn
MTR brand Rasam Powder- 1 tspn
Lemon- 2 juiced
Water- 3-4 cups
Cilantro leaves for garnishing
Salt and Oil

1. Crush together the cumin seeds, black pepper and garlic coarsely.
2. In a deep pan add the water and cut up tomatoes.
3. Add the Rasam Powder, salt, turmeric powder, crushed mixture from step 1.
4. Let the soup boil until the tomato is soft. Add the juice of the lemons and turn off the stove,
5. Now heat a saucepan add oil and the seasoning spices.
6.When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and asafoetida, then pour the tempering into the soup.
7. Stir in 1 tspn sugar if needed for extra taste.

8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve as a warm soup or with steamed rice in it.
9. If you prefer a thick soup, stir in 1/2 cup of cooked tuar dal or split peas into the soup.


  1. The rasam looks so tangy delicious and fried fish is a perfect combo :)

  2. There's something so wonderful about whole, fried fish... and proper sized ones too... not little sardines. They seem so satisfying and fresh to eat. One of my favourite restaurants is a seafood restaurant near my place which does really good fish - had some excellent sea-bass there on Thursday!

    Your fish look beautiful - cooked to perfection! :)

  3. Wow...that's a wonderful dishes!!!! Slurrp!!

  4. best fry and rasam...

  5. Love fried fish. Like your info on Hing, would appreciate more of that on other things.
    So "Rasam" means soup. OK. This one sounds real good.
    Thank You.

    Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep
    Trouble on Earth Day
    Author Kathy Stemke (my spouse)

  6. Oh look at how cute your fish are! Frying them whole like that is not only delicious but so appealing to the eye! I love it- totally impressed! Can you come fry me some? Please

  7. Hello All,
    So good to hear from everyone!!
    I have posted a picture of my Asafoetida Shaker. So glad to share little bits of info with you about the ingredients. Anthony..I'll try to come up with new ones as I go along:)
    Kitchen Belleicious... will be more than happy to fry the fish for you:)
    .....just can't fry the big whole fish with ginger sauce served at Asian Restaurants!

  8. My Hubs loves a whole fried fish. We have deep fried ours before. Never heard of the 'Asafoetida'. Going to have to check that out.

  9. I love fried fish. The soup also looks delish!
    Blessings, Joanne

    P.S. Thank you for visiting my blog today and for your comment :O)

  10. That looks great - I love whole fish cooked simply. Last time I had a dish even close to that was in the I long to go back!

  11. You have provided a wealth of information with enough detail to try this on my own. The fish looks delish and the tomato rasam as well.

    Can you tell me about the left photo on your header. Not to show my ignorance, but if those are figs I need to know more! (if not, I still want to know as it looks wonderful)


  12. This looks delicious! Thank you for dropping by my blog Malli!

  13. Hi malli thanks for your sweet wishes dear :) The rasam looks so good, I would love to drink off the computer!!!
    And can you do one more thing for the giveaway - please like my FB page :) Here is the link -
    Many thanks - Love your blog too!!! cheers priya

  14. It's good to hear from each one of you... thanks

    Yes, in the header photo those are figs, goat cheese and pesto on an open faced sandwich- my recipe #134

  15. delicious combination looks wonderful

  16. I hope I can find this spice in my local stores. I loved reading about this and it sounds very interesting. Your fish looks perfect!! and delicious. Thank you for your visits. I always look forward to them. Blessings, Catherine xo

  17. I don't know if I'd be able to find those ingredients here, meaning the rasam powder or the asafoetida. I have a hard enough time finding panko! Anyway, I'll give it a try, because it sure looks good! The fish looks delicious, too!

  18. There is something great about a whole fish. Looks delicious and has officially made me hungry! Pity I don't have any fish in the house. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  19. Malli, how brilliant! Love the fried fish & the remedy :)

  20. How nice fish I love them! gloria


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