Monday, February 16, 2009

Jeera Vepam Poo Rasam - Cumin & Neem Flower Thin Soup


There is a rumbling in the stomach. You are famished. You want to eat but you are not hungry. The best antidote for such a condition is Jeera rasam. A glass of hot Jeera rasam topped with ¼ tsp of fresh ghee will be enough to make you ravenous in no time. My family loves to have this rasam especially when the first course of the meal is a heavy dish, or when lots of dishes are lined up waiting to be savoured. Vepam Poo or neem flowers added to the seasoning is an added benefit, as these flowers have a healing property. They also act as a deworming agent. Regular use of neem flowers is over all good for a healthy digestive system.

Collecting neem flowers during the season was great fun for us siblings. As soon as the neem tree in our garden started to bloom, Lingamma started to prepare the ground under the tree. She removed the weeds and thorns from under the tree and swept the ground well. We took part enthusiastically in the operation cleaning only up to this stage. The next step was not a very pleasant one for us, where Lingamma plastered the ground with a mixture of cow dung and water. I can still recall the characteristic odour when the hot earth greedily absorbed the cow dung and water mixture. (For those who are not aware – this is a common practice still very prevalent in rustic homes in India! Cow dung has insect repellent properties, acts as a thermal insulator and is available easily and cheaply, and therefore quite popular is rural areas!) The ground dried up very quickly and was all set to receive the shower of the fresh neem flowers. As the breeze swept through the neem tree, the pleasant smelling flowers fell to the ground and we competed in collecting them by sweeping the flowers together with a new broom. This exercise lasted till the flowers lasted. Then the flowers were cleaned and sun dried and stored up for future use. Dried neem flowers (see picture above) are also available in the departmental stores in India.

Tamarind – 1 small lemon size ball
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Salt – 1½ tsp
Rasam powder – 1tsp (I use my omni potent sambar powder as usual)
Curry leaves – 1 small cup
Red Gram Dal (tur dal) – 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Dried neem flowers – 1 tsp
Ghee – 2 tsps


1. Soak tur dal for a few minutes. Then grind it too a coarse paste along with jeera and curry leaves and set aside.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
3. Add rasam powder, salt, asafoetida, and a few curry leaves to the tamarind juice.
4. Boil the mixture till the raw smell disappears.
5. Now add the ground tur dal, jeera and curry leaf paste to the rasam, and immediately add 4 cups of water.
6. Let the rasam stay on low flame till it forms a lot of froth on top (see the picture of froth on the rasam, above)
7. Remove from flame when it is just about to boil. (Note: Do not actually boil the rasam, as this spoils the aroma)
8. Heat ghee and add mustard seeds.
9. When it splutters add the dry neem flowers and fry . 
10. Pour the seasoning on the rasam and cover with a lid immediately.

Plain Jeera rasam is very popular as well, and the recipe is the same minus the neem flower seasoning. Relax and relish the rasam sip by sip and get ready to binge on your next meal!

20 Post your Comments:

S.R.Ramachandran said...

Jeera and VepamPoo rasam is a digestive dose after a heavy meal. appa

Asha said...

Rasam looks yum. I made Chettinadu Rasam and posted it FH. was yum. But never tried the neem leaves though. Have a great Monday, will post food art for Chitra amma today at Aroma!

Raks said...

Yes i remember my mom make this sometimes,I used to cry for eating this:D,but now i feel it was very flavorful and I missed it:)

jayasree said...

I could as well smell neem flowers... I would love to sip that glass of hot jeera rasam.

I am waiting for my small neem plant to start flowering. Thats the only way i could get some vepam poo.

Sunshinemom said...

I do not know of any soup as tasty as a rasam!! The vepam poo thing is new to me but I am sure I will love this version too - and I am going mad thinking about your food art!!

Lakshmi said...

You just reminded us of Ugadi..which is just a month away! I think neem trees must be lusciously green by now..loved the rasam. I will try to collect some neem flowers this ugadi to make the rasam.

Finla said...

I love asom, i have never had rasom like this, looks so yumm and healthy.

Siri said...

Lovely looking rasam..:)


Manju said...

well..thats one healthy rasam with all the vepam poo in it!! hope it is not bitter..

Nithya Praveen said...

Absolutely healthy rasam....helps in digestion!

Srivalli said...

what a healthy drink..thanks for sharing!

Dibs said...

Thanks everybody! Yes this is not a favourite with kids, as neem flower does have a bitter tinge. However, the amount used is small and only in the seasoning, and this alone is sufficient to benefit from its medicinal properties! Most adults would like this, for its flavoursome taste!

Anonymous said...

Jeera Vepam is one of greates herb in the world.

Priya Suresh said...

Great rasam, makes me nostalgic, my mom's special:)

ಮುತ್ತುಮಣಿ said...

Hey! I like that 'delicious' story of neem tree, water and cowdung. It reminded me of my summer holidays at my village.
And ofcourse the jeera rasam prepared by my grandmother!

Roshni said...

Hi Dibs,

visiting your site after a long time!


Uma said...

mmm. rasam looks so mouth-watering. Yummy! Pic is so tempting.

Vibaas said...

i love jeera rasam and i love veppam poo rasam and combining these two should taste awesome! nice recipe :)

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sunny Sand said...

Its Gudi Padwa tomorrow and good time to try this Neem Flower Rasam. I wonder whether this can be made by fresh neeem flowers as well?