Its almost the end of fall here in the north east US. The temperatures are falling, trees are changing colors and shedding fast. Its time for everything warm and comforting. Talking of comforting, one of the best comfort foods(next to regular Saaru), I simply love is piping hot ‘Menasina Saaru’ .
Pepper is such a wonderful spice. It has several uses in home remedies, especially in making ‘Kashaya’ for coughs and colds. Pepper-jeera powder is used most extensively at our place in the winter months. It is a very important spice mixture for cooking during the last month of the Chaturmasya Vratha, that follows after Vijayadashami. The reason could be because, pepper is thought to increase body heat, which is really helpful in the cold months of winter, which is when the Vratha is done. Pepper contains a compound ‘ Piperine’ which acts as a thermogenic.
This recipe is super easy, and wonderfully delicious, and has to enjoyed piping hot.
1. Urad Dal- 2 tsp
2. Jeera- 1 tsp
3. Black pepper- 3/4 tsp
4. Fresh coconut grated- 1/4 cup
5. Milk- 2 cups
6. Ghee- 1 tbsp
7. Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
7. Curry leaves- 1 sprig
8. Asafetida- 2 big pinches
9. Salt- to taste
Dry roast the Urad dal, jeera, pepper, and a pinch of asafetida. Cool and powder them. Grind the powder with the coconut and a little water to make a very smooth paste. Heat ghee in a pan, add the mustard seeds. After they splutter, add the asafetida and curry leaves, add the paste and immediately add a cup of water to avoid burning the paste. Add the salt and milk. Stir well, to stop the paste from forming lumps. The liquid thickens slightly as it comes to a boil. This saaru, can either be eaten hot with rice with a tiny dollop of ghee, or savored as a soup.