This is better known as King soup.
I grew up living off this. My mother made this whenever someone in the house was sick, or more importantly whenever we prayed, be it our yearly prayers or the annual ancestor prayers.
To tell you the truth, most Indian sweetmeats are only made in our house during a prayer period. Sad but true, other times we eat western food or a mixture.
My late Uncle loved rusum, he always craved it and he always nagged me to make it whenever he saw me. I of course, ignored his pestering seeing as I was not that comfortable making it.
Once in grade 9, we had a traditional meal with table setup and oral that we had to do for Afrikaans, my group picked Indian and we made this soup as the starter, of course none of them were Indian and I made my mother drain all the leaves out of the soup so when the rusum was served, my entire class thought I was serving heated mud water and they all refused to try it out. What can I say, to the untrained eye it looks brown, but that is just the tamarind that colours the water.
My mother’s recipe left a lot to be desired, she created her own spice mixture and then her only blending method and whenever I asked her to explain herself in the method, she went off on a tangent and I tuned out and never really bothered to attempt it again.
I tried making rusum a few months back and it was another disaster. My mother’s recipe said add a teaspoon of salt and I did, but my rusum was salty, and my parents kept teasing me for it, wanting to know who puts a teaspoon of salt in a water based drink. Common sense would have told me that it would have been salty, obviously my common sense was watered down and didn’t tell me, because I added the salt anyway.
Then I came across this recipe on Facebook and I was game to try it out, because the end result looked delicious and mouthwatering. The original recipe used the store bought spice mix, which was just up my street and I also I just happened to have a pack of the mix lying in the cupboard waiting to reach its expiry date and get thrown out.
It took me about a dozen attempts at the original recipe to get the recipe just the way my parents liked it, or should I say how they make it in the temple. The recipe said to stamp the curry leaves, so the first attempt I stamped them and little did I know that when you stamp curry leaves they become bitter and make the dish bitter, the rusum had a bitter after taste.
The second try, I left the curry leaves whole and then my parents said I put too much tomatoe in, the recipe asked for 4, I eventually only used 1. Then there was too much garlic, I went from 10 cloves to 6 and eventually it was good enough for the world’s most picky eaters.
Their verdicts, my mother could only stomach a few sips, too much rusum, gives her indigestion, yet come temple time, she is the one that is bossing me around from the other side of the hall to grab her a cup of rusum and drinks it without complaining but my rusum causes indigestion. Then my dad, oh that old man, he complained and is still complaining that it is too strong. Actually he complains that all my food is strong. Since when has he stopped eating strong food at the rate he complains, he will be eating bland stew in the future.
- 4 x tsp ground Rusum Spices ( Ready made King soup spice mixture)
- 3 x sprigs curry leaves.
- 6 x cloves garlic.
- 4 x green chillies.
- 3 x dried chillies, broken in half.
- 1 x tomatoe, liquidized.
- ½ x tsp turmeric.
- 1 ½ x tsp masala.
- 50g x tamarind.
- 3 x cups boiling water.
- ¼ x tsp methi seeds.
- ½ x tsp mustard seeds.
- Handful fresh coriander.
- 1 x onion, finely chopped.
- 3 x tbsp. oil.
- Salt to taste.
- Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of boiling water and set aside.
- Crush the garlic and chillies to create a paste.
- Strain the tamarind water and set aside.
- In a deep pot heat the oil.
- Add the onion, mustard seeds, curry leaves, methi seeds, dry chillies and salt.
- Saute the onions till the start to brown.
- Add in the crushed garlic and chilli paste.
- Give it a good stir and pour in the tomatoe.
- Mix, cover and cook for a few minutes.
- Add in the masala, turmeric and rusum spices.
- Cook for a few seconds.
- Add in the tamarind water and the remaining two cups of boiling water.
- Allow the mixture to come to the boil.
- Add in the fresh coriander and simmer for 15 minutes or until the spices have infused and you can smell the aromas.