All parts of neem tree (the sacred tree of Hindu religion) have medicinal value. When the summer season starts, the neem tree is with full of small white flowers. You can even smell its fragrance in air. In villages clean cloth is spread under the tree in the evening and the next day morning the fallen neem flowers are collected on it. The neem flowers are collected this way for some days. The flowers are then washed, dried in the sunlight and stored for use for the rest of the year. Neem flower is used in cooking in many ways.
Here is Veppampoo (Neem Flower) Rasam. Though this is slightly bitter in taste, it is very good for health. Approximately 4 cups of rasam can be prepared with the given quantity of ingredients.
Neem flower is called as Veppampoo in Tamil.
Here is the fresh neem flower and the sundried neem flower.
- Dried neem flower – 1 heaped table spoon
- Toor dal – 1 table spoon
- Tamarind – marble size
- Red chilli – 6 no
- Coriander leaves and curry leaves – few
- Turmeric powder – pinch
- Asafetida powder – pinch
- Salt – as per taste
- For seasoning
- Mustard – ½ tea spoon
- Ghee/oil –1 tea spoon
- Curry leaves – few
- Take a pan with three cups of water; add toor dal, raw tamarind, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli, asafetida powder, few curry leaves; boil this till raw smell of tamarind leaves.
- Now add two more cups of water in the boiling rasam; let it boil and remove when foam is formed on the surface; in another pan, add few drops of ghee/oil, do the seasoning and mix with rasam.
- Heat the remaining ghee/oil; add neem flowers and fry in moderate heat till brown and crisp.
- Add this in the hot rasam and mix well; add chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
- Serve with rice or drink as soup.