Saturday, January 5, 2013

Knit Days, Rasam Nights

Just back from New Orleans, I decided to keep myself occupied until school starts. I added length and half-sleeves to my chevron stitch cardigan this week. For those who need it the pattern is available for free at, it's a top down yoke and really versatile pattern. I couldn't get a photo of the adjusted sweater because I'm wearing it and I can't find my camera for the life of me. (Actually, I'm sure its right in my desk but I'm still in denial about the mess down there and I'd prefer not to look.)
I promised to post my version of the patiala salwar and I'm getting to it as soon as I find three yards of spare fabric laying around. :)  In fact, I have a ton of saris laying around but since they are Bengali handloom saris, they are much too thin to make salwars with. I can make a bunch of lined gopi skirts or ghagras with the thick slips inside instead and I'll post those as well.
I've been practicing my knitting again and this time I decided to use a bulkier yarn to make a simple scarf. I swear I'm a crocheter not a knitter. I also said knitting was for losers but I also forget that I'm stubborn as a mule and will not submit to the knitting gods. I shall master knitting! SOMEDAY!
Lately we've been having a lot of rasam, its easy to prepare and it tastes like tomato soup's kick-ass Indian cousin.  The first time I tried it, I felt nauseated all day and swore it off for my lifetime. But again, I forgot that I'm stubborn as hell and would not let a little nausea defeat me. The other day, (I forgot which day it was supposed to be below freezing again), we went to Maharaj's house to drip all the faucets and open the cabinets when I spotted a package of Rasam powder in his kitchen. I knew it was a sign, I hadn't yet been able to get down to the Indian market to fetch me some and last time I totally forgot to pick it up and I ended up with two packs of fish curry masala instead.. I was annoyed by my absent-mindedness and so I yanked the powdered spices. This winter there is gonna be a lot of frickin' Rasam  because it is so quick and  easy prepare that you could feasibly make some right away and have it within a half hour! All you need is some tomatoes (3), grated ginger, spices (curry leaves, mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon rasam powder) and oil or ghee for frying. Boil and peel the tomatoes and blend it along with your ginger, a few curry leaves and water. You can also add a green chile for more heat. Heat some oil or ghee in your saucepan and fry the mustard and fresh curry leaves. Add the tomato puree, spices and salt and boil for five minutes. Add more water and boil it for another five minutes. Offer and enjoy!
I never had rasam before because it smelled too  pungent, it usually contained onion or garlic and each time it was usually on a train. Apparently Indian Railways likes to gorge their passengers on Rasam and breadsticks and I had no idea that such a combination was even possible! In my experience its usually not a good idea to combine spicy meals and travel; I never personally made this mistake because 1) I'm not an idiot. 2) I don't eat garbage from a plane or train or otherwise 3) I'm not naturally inclined toward spicy foods but I learn from others' mistakes well. Now that I've discovered rasam and confirmed that it is not decidedly gross as I thought from my previous railway encounters, I'm a fanatic. It really helps open up my sinuses and clearing up colds, its perfect for those cold evenings when you need something to really warm you up but it is really acidic so take care not to over indulge if you have a weak stomach! 
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