Bellam charu is a popular dish from the Andhra cuisine and is also a traditional rasam made in many parts of Karnataka especially in Mysore as it is characterized by the presence of jaggery. Freshly ground rasam powder tastes excellent in making this dish.
Charu or rasam is a popular south Indian digestive soup traditionally prepared with tamarind juice as the base ingredient in addition to tomato, chili pepper and other spices like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper etc as seasonings. Steamed or cooked lentils are also added in the charu. Charu is basically a thin consistency soup which has a distinct taste in comparison to the sambar. Bellam charu can be eaten with rice or separately as soup. Normally during a typical south Indian meal course, the charu is served preceded by sambar rice and then followed by curd rice.
Rasam in south India is commonly referred to the one prepared with Tamarind/ tomato juice with added spices. It is known in various names regional wise like saaru in Kannada, charu in Telugu. Historically it was prepared mainly with black pepper and tamarind both ingredients being native to and abundant in South India in general but now many use freshly ground rasam powder which enhances the taste of the charu. It is said that rasam is the basis of the Anglo Indian mulligatawny soup.
Now days you find a variety of rasam being made to treat the palates with different variations. Some of the very popular varieties available are the garlic/ poondu rasam (is said to be a good soup for lactating mothers and easily digestible), pepper rasam (this soup made with fresh crushed pepper corns is good to treat common colds), lime rasam (a sour soup made with lime juice), tomato rasam and so on….Normally, bellam charu is prepared with the tamarind’s sourness and jaggery’s sweetness combined making it a very delicious dish to taste giving a savory sweet tangy flavor from the spices, jaggery and tamarind which are the main flavor enhancers.
Jaggery or whole sugar is prepared from sugarcane juice and is pure, wholesome, traditional and unrefined. It also has natural goodness of vitamins and minerals as is regarded as one of the purest forms of sugar. It has sucrose and glucose present in it along with other minerals and vitamins. Jaggery is often referred as medicinal sugar as it is said to good for dry cough, cough with sputum, indigestion, constipation etc.
To prepare this popular Andhra dish, bellam charu, firstly heat a pan and add little oil in it. Once it gets slightly hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, channa dal, dry red chilies, coriander seeds and chopped garlic and then add tamarind juice and little water, salt and jaggery to it and allow boiling for about 15 minutes. Finally once done, add freshly chopped coriander leaves to it and serve it with any kind of fry curry.
Tip: Add more jaggery if you like the sweet taste or less jaggery if you don’t like the sweetness. Serve this dish with rice, chicken try etc. To try this simple yet delicious recipe, Click on the below link for detailed recipe:
There are plenty of natural and artificial sweetening agents available in the market, mainly the sugar on the top which is extensively used by one and all. But they are just plain sweeteners. The first benefit of jaggery is that it is rather a tastemaker and color maker than being just a sweetener.
This can be experienced by tasting both one after the other and you would find the difference. The second benefit of jaggbery is that it is a more complex form of carbohydrate than plain sugar and hence can be digested and absorbed gradually and releases energy gradually. This provides with warmth and energy for a longer period, without harming the internal organs. Unlike sugar, jaggery is very rich in minerals, predominantly iron with traces of other mineral salts. Jaggery is less likely to give you acidity compared to sugar.