Chaaru (Andhra Rasam) – 1

Charu or Andhra Rasam
Charu or Andhra Rasam

I learnt this simple Chaaru from Ammamma (my maternal grandmother). It was a great favourite with both of us.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Ammamma lived about 25 kms from us and we would go over to stay every other weekend. Around lunch time on many of these days Ammamma would ask “Chaaru pettukundaama? (shall we make Chaaru?)” That would be the signal to get out the Chaaru ginni; a small round-bottomed steel vessel that Ammamma has reserved for Chaaru. Woe befall anyone who used it for anything else!

In fact, my mama (maternal uncle) would lay in wait for Ammamma and me to make Chaaru, and then mercilessly tease us about what we are eating. He disliked Chaaru; according to him it was just boiled tamarind water and he could never understand what the fuss was all about. And it was my constant endeavour to get him to eat some! 🙂

The thing I like about Chaaru the way Ammamma made it is that it is really tangy. More importantly, every time I make it, I remember other wonderful times I spent with Ammamma and Mama, and it always make me smile. 🙂

Ingredients

  1. Water – 3 Cups
  2. Tamarind – A gooseberry-sized ball
  3. Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  4. Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  5. Ghee/Clarified Butter – 1/4 tsp
  6. Cooked and Mashed Tuvar Dal – 3 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 2 or 3 pinches
  8. Asafoetida – A Pinch
  9. Chaaru Podi – 1 tsp
  10. Curry Leaves – 5 or 6
  11. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Boil water with tamarind, curry leaves, chaaru podi, and cooked tuvar dal.
  2. Turn the heat to low and let the Chaaru simmer.
  3. Heat the clarified butter.
  4. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  5. Add split red chillies and fry for a few seconds.
  6. Add asafoetida and turmeric.
  7. Add to the Chaaru.
  8. Add salt.
  9. Bring to a boil.
  10. Serve with hot rice and ghee.

This Chaaru is a perfect accompaniment to mudda pappu annam!