Neem flower ( Vepam poo) Rasam

வேப்பம் பூ ரசம் 

A very healthy and very easy to make rasam suitable during cold weather and very good for people suffering from stomach ailments such as digestive disorders, including excessive bile, phlegm and intestinal worms. 

Ingredients for 4 adults:
  1. Dried neem flowers* - 1 to 2 teaspoons
  2. Green chillies 3
  3. Dry red chillies 2
  4. Tamarind  -lemon size or Tamarind paste 3/4 to 1 teaspoon 
  5. Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
  6. Curry leaves - a few
  7. Coriander leaves - a few
  8. Tomato 1
  9. Hing - a pinch
  10. Sambhar powder 1/4 teaspoon ( if you add more, this may mask the flavor of the neem)
  11. Oil or ghee -two  teaspoons 
  1. Dissolve the tamarind in 2 and  1/2  cups of water and keep it aside. ( if you are using raw tamarind, dissolve  using warm water, mash it with your fingers and filter to remove the debris and fibres) 
  2. Saute the neem flowers, red chilli in a spoon of ghee till the neem flowers are just about to blacken.
  1. In a suitable vessel pour the tamarind water.Add salt. 
  2. Cut and squeeze the tomato with your hand and add them into the water. Add sambhar powder,curry leaves and the green chillies.
  3.  Cook in a low flame till the smell of sambhar powder disappears. Add one more cup of water.
  4.  Pour a  teaspoon of oil or ghee  in a small skillet ( kadai, or an iron ladle specific for this purpose). Put the mustard seeds. Wait till they splutter. Pour it over the rasam..
  5. Now add the roasted neem flower and red chillies
  6. You can now add  some more coriander leaves at this stage.
This is best consumed hot (with a dash of ghee if required) accompanied by dry roasted appalams / papads.

* Dried neem flowers are available in South India in ready to use packets or as dried neem flowers in vegetable markets during March-April. Back home, if you have Neem trees in your back yard, collect the flowers that falls down from the tree, clean the dust, wash, drain, soak them using thin curd with salt, a spoon of turmeric powder and dry in the sun. It should become dry in two days. Once it is dry, you can store in containers for use through the year.