Drumstick Soup or Rasam

By: Esther Vasa

DRUMSTICKS or MORINGA: This vegetable is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and vitamins C & A . It is used to treat malnutrition. Also, my grandfather used to call it "Poor Man's Bones". In India this vegetable finds its usage in preparing "Sambhar" which is a soup prepared with lentils and other vegetables. The leaves are edible and in fact have a better source of nutrition than the drumsticks. If you are wondering how it tastes, it tastes a bit like asparagus to me. The seeds are more tastier.

Drumsticks - 3 or 4 (cut them into 3 inch sized pieces) or a packet of frozen drumsticks
Medium Onion - 1 (diced)
Tomatoes - 2 (diced)
Tamarind - lemon sized ball
Cayenne Pepper - a few pinches
Green Chillies - 2 (cut)
Cumin Powder - 1/4th tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/4th tsp
Water - 6 cups
Himalayan Salt - per your taste
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Garlic - 3 cloves (crushed)
Cilantro - a few sprigs
Mustard seeds - 1/4th tsp
Turmeric - 1/8th tsp
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Heat up a cup of water and soak the tamarind for half-an-hour. Extract the juice and put it in a soup pot. Add the remaining water, cut drumsticks, salt, onions, tomatoes,pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder and green chillies to the soup pot. Let this boil for at least twenty minutes or until the drumsticks are tender. Let it cool down for 30 minutes and then separate the drumsticks and set aside. The rest of the ingredients can be put in a blender to make a thin paste. Set it aside also.

Heat up a deep wok and add the oil. When the oil is warm enough, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add, turmeric and asafoetida and let it sit for a few seconds. Then add garlic and stir for a few seconds. At this time, you can add the drumsticks and the blended mixture that were set aside. Bring it to a boil and let all the ingredients boil together for about five to ten minutes. Switch off the stove and garnish with cilantro. This soup can be enjoyed along with roasted chicken or with a bowl of rice. This is one of my favorite soups.

Serves: 5-6