I tend to make a lot of rasam during the cold and flu season – and with good reason! Rasam, a Tamil spicy soup made with either tamarind juice or tomatoes and flavoured with garlic, onions, and a whole bunch of good-for-you herbs and spices, is especially comforting during the colder months or when one is ill. Many Tamil households serve vegetarian rasam as an accompaniment to rice and curry, as it aids digestion. However, bones or meat with bones can be incorporated to make different types of rasam such as chicken rasam and mutton rasam which are both great options during cold and flu season.
Although rasam powder (a blend of herbs and spices) is available at all Sri-Lankan/Indian stores, I prefer grinding my own mix as I find it more fresh and aromatic that way. In this case, convenience is not worth it! I also prefer to grind the garlic, ginger, and shallots along with the spices to create a wet spice blend that I add to flavour the rasam especially when I make chicken or mutton rasam.
In this specific recipe, I swapped out the usual chicken for Canadian turkey, or specifically one turkey drumstick. Turkey is a lean meat and a great source of protein. It is equally tender and flavourful as chicken but with less fat, making turkey great substitute for those that are opting to make more health conscious choices. Turkey also marries well with bold flavours, herbs and spices, making it ideal for using in a variety of dishes. For this rasam, I bought one Canadian turkey drumstick, and my butcher was able to peel the skin off and cut the drumstick into smaller pieces for no extra charge.
Two things that I noticed were: 1. The larger bones contribute to a more flavourful and darker-coloured rasam and 2. The wet spice blend compliments the turkey meat perfectly!
The traditional rasam is tangy and spicy, yet the level of heat can definitely be adjusted to suit your tastes. That being said, some heat is definitely recommended – especially the heat that comes from the freshly ground peppercorns and the green chilli used in the following recipe. Each and every spice and herb used in the traditional rasam recipe not only contributes to the flavour and taste of the rasam but also provides amazing health benefits (see notes).
Rasam is great served on its own as a delicious soup but it can also be served with a crusty bread or soft-cooked rice and vegetable curries on the side as well to make it a more balanced and filling meal.
Turkey Rasam RECIPE
Prep: 20 min
Cooking time: 1.5 hours
- 1 – 2lb turkey drumstick (bones and flesh)
- 4 L of water
- 1 and half tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1/8 cup chopped mint leaves
- 12 curry leaves
- 6 shallots
- 4 dried red chillies
- 2 inch piece ginger, sliced in half
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 green chili
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- salt to taste
- Optional: 1/2 tsp of each freshly ground black pepper and red chilli flakes
- In a pan on medium heat, dry roast the dried red chilies, coriander, cumin, fennel, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds until aromatic. Toss in the garlic cloves, ginger, and shallots and roast for two minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Let it cool slightly.
- Blend the pan-roasted ingredients and green chili to make a fine paste. Add a little bit of water to help blend if needed.
- Add the turkey, water, salt (about 1 Tbsp), turmeric and half of the spice blend mixture in a large stock pot. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil and then cover. Let the stock boil on medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Once done, the meat should be tender and any meat on the bones should be falling off the bones.
- Add the rest of the spice mixture, chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and curry leaves. Boil for an additional half hour.
- Add the freshly ground black pepper and red chilli flakes. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve warm.
This Winter season, opt for comforting and healing foods such as this turkey rasam. If you give this recipe, please tell me what you think in the comments below 🙂
- If making this rasam for children, omit the dried red chillies, de-seed the green chili (or omit completely) and reduce the amount of black peppercorns used.
- Not only is rasam a comfort food, it is also a natural remedy for cold and flu as well as digestive trouble.
- Black pepper provides some relief from nasal congestion & sinusitis, aids digestion, supresses cough, and loosens mucous and phlegm.
- Coriander seeds aid digestion, are a good source of Vitamin C, are known to be a fever-reducer, and improves nausea.
- Cumin seeds aid digestion, contains Vitamin C, improves immunity, is a natural decongestant, and loosens up accumulated mucous and phlegm.
- Fennel Seeds aid digestion and is a natural cough suppressant.
- Fenugreek seeds are known to help alleviate sore throat, improve digestion, and help improve symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
- Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. Studies have shown regular consumption of garlic reduces frequency of common colds and flu.
- Ginger aids digestion, helps relieve sinus pain, nasal congestion, and sore throat. It is also and anti-inflammatory agent and loosens mucous in throat and lungs.
- Green Chilli is a natural decongestant, high in Vitamin C, known to reduce body aches and pains, and helps fight sinusitis and bronchitis.
- Shallots improve immunity and helps fight against infections.
- Turmeric Powder contains fibre and Vitamin C, aids digestion, relieves bloating, and is an anti-inflammatory agent.
Disclaimer: This sponsored post is part of Canadian Turkey’s #TryTurkeyToday campaign. I have received monetary compensation for this post, however, the recipe and thoughts are my own.