Anna-Saaru (Rice & Rasam) is our staple meal. It's funny how after a couple of days of having all types of food our heart's crave for this simple wholesome meal full of flavour. Sunday evening is typically anna-saaru time, to comfort me from the weekend that is done and prepare me for the week of work and the mundaness that comes with it.
Saaru is a any-day, any-time dish for me. I am (used to be) strict about a couple of things when it comes to this dish - I don't prepare it if I don't have nice ripe tomatoes and a fresh bunch of coriander. Everything else can be substituted - lime instead of the tamarind sauce, sugar instead of jaggery, even moong dal instead of toor dal. Now, are you thinking that all this is cheating already?
Well, the last week I cheated on one of the main ingredients - the tomatoes. Are you thinking of the obvious substitute - canned tomatoes? No! By the way, I do have an odd feeling about canned food, can't bring myself to use them. Hmmm, that's another story in itself.
I had bought this bottle of passata sauce from the little shop selling all stuff organic (Now, that makes me think that everything there is healthy and natural!, Weird how the mind operates). I thought of making a simple spaghetti pasta with tomato sauce and ground black pepper and not fuss about with any other ingredient. This passata sauce was made of sun-dried tomatoes (one of the bestest things that I have found in the western world).
I bought this for a crazy day when work was too much, eating out was not an option. A day like that did happen, but the craving was for Indian, ghar ka khana (home made) which made me do this version of saaru.
I just kept a pan and put all the ingredients in the pan, brought it to a boil, added the tadka (seasoning) and served it hot with rice. So, I ended up making an otherwise authentic south indian staple meal by using pasta sauce!
Passata - 1/2 the bottle ( The cheat factor)
Saarina Pudi - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Ground black pepper - 1 tsp
Water - to thin it.
Salt to taste
For the tadka:
Sunflower Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin - a pinch
Mustard - a pinch
asafoetida (another key ingredient)
coriander (nothing happens in my kitchen without this)
It was the easiest tomato saaru ever and tasted heavenly with the sun-dried tomatoes giving a huge earthy flavour with both sweet and tang bursting in the mouth.