Neem flower rasam

As a child I hated few things imposed by my grandparents during our visit every summer. It was disgusting to find all our clothes reeked of bitter neem oil as they were washed using neem detergents. We also disliked to gobble up extremely bitter balls made of neem leaves paste forcibly given by our grandmother. But now I have been yearning for such eco-friendly chemical-free detergents suitable for my washing machine, and also I feel guilty to give de-worming tablet to my son as I am unable to persuade him to take the home-made herbal substitute available plentiful around us. Nevertheless I feel contented that I can prepare delicious soup using neem flowers that possess almost same properties as that of neem leaves.

IMG_4546 Neem flower rasam
Neem flower rasam

Ayurvedic properties of neem flowers:

Every part of neem tree is being used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes and they all have almost similar properties.

  • Taste (Rasa): Bitter (tikta)
  • Qualities (Guna):  Light to digest (laghu)
  • Potency (Veerya): Cold (Sheeta) – perfect for summer.
  • Action (Karma):  Balances pitta & kapha
  • Benefits: Reduces blood sugar (mehanut), improves digestion (agnikrut), relieves intestinal worms (krumihara)
IMG_4374 Neem flower rasam
Fresh Neem flowers

Neem flowers are generally used for culinary purposes. We make neem flower rasam and pachadi specially on our Chithirai Vishu festival. I have prepared delicious and flavorful veppam poo rasam suppressing their bitter taste as much as possible so that even kids would savour this rasam heartily. Veppam poo rasam with rice may be served with suitable accompaniments as shown below.

IMG_4565 Neem flower rasam

Neem flower rasam recipe:

Time taken: 15 min
Yields: 600 ml

Ingredients: (listed in the order of addition)

  1. Ghee – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard seeds – ΒΌ tsp
  3. Red chillies – 2 Nos.
  4. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  5. Dried neem flowers – 1 tbsp
  6. Rasam powder as shown below
  7. Tamarind juice – a berry sized tamarind extracted in 500 ml water
  8. Vegetable stock or lentil stock – 100 ml*
  9. Tomato – 1 No.
  10. Powdered jaggery – 1 tbsp
  11. Salt – 1 tsp
  12. Coriander leaves – 2 or 3 sprigs

*I used carrot stock but you may use any other vegetable or lentil stock that enhances the flavours of neem flowers.

IMG_4475 Neem flower rasam

For rasam powder:

  1. Coriander seeds (dhania) – 1 tbsp
  2. Red gram (thuvaram paruppu or toor dal) – 1 tsp
  3. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Pepper – Β½ tsp
  5. Mustard seeds – 1/8 tsp
  6. Green chilli – 1 No.
  7. Ginger – Β½”
  8. Garlic – 4 pods
  9. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
nr-powder Neem flower rasam
How to prepare rasam powder

How to prepare neem flower rasam:

  • Heat a cooking pot with ghee in medium flame.
  • Add mustard seeds, when they begin to crackle reduce the flame to low.
  • Add red chillies (broken into 2), curry leaves, dried neem leaves & rasam powder one after another.
  • Fry them until the aroma of rasam powder is released.
  • Add tamarind juice, vegetable broth, powdered jaggery and salt.
  • Bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • Add chopped coriander leaves and turn off the flame.
  • Close the pot with a lid and set aside for few minutes allowing the spices infused into the rasam.

nmflrsm Neem flower rasam

Cooking tips:

  • I missed to add red chillies along with curry leaves, so I fried them separately in a small pan, boil those chillies in a ladleful of rasam and pour the same into the pot. These red chillies are used mainly for adding flavour.
rdch Neem flower rasam
  • Usually dried neem flowers are added at the end to avoid its bitterness permeated into rasam, but I prefer to add them before boiling the rasam to enjoy the health benefits of neem flowers to the fullest. Hence I added chillies & ginger for pungency, tamarind & tomato for tartness and jaggery for sweetness in the right proportion to neutralize neem flowers’ bitterness.
  • I suggest you to grind rasam powder as fine as possible, else you would notice mustard seeds floating on the rasam that may not be liked by many.
  • You can dry neem flowers under the Sun during summer and store them for a year or more. It is preferred to fry them in ghee before adding into any chutney, curry, or gravy.
nmfl Neem flower rasam
How to prepare neem flowers

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  1. Back home we never got neem flowers so mother used to bring them from Chennai whenever they visited. These were precious and used rarely and preciously. on this day, I see these trees blooming with flowers lining the road below my apartment. I am going to pluck some and make this delicious rasam, Megala. Thank you!

  2. This looks pretty inviting though I’ve never cooked with neem flowers. I tasted neem flower rasam at a friend’s place and found it too bitter to my liking. Yours looks better.

  3. So true about the natural goodness of neem, Megala. What a great idea to make rasam! That meal looks delicious!

    1. Yes, it is undoubtedly flavorful, and I’m sure it would meet all your expectations. πŸ™‚
      Thank you !

  4. Hi! I read a lot about ecoeggs for laundry detergent and ended up buying one off amazon~ supposed to be really good for clothes and the environment. I haven’t tried mine yet so can’t give a personal account yet, but just thought I’d share. It came from England (I’m in U.S.) so I’m not sure if they have them around your neck of the woods or not :0). Thanks for the post on Neem! I love Neem!

    1. Hi, I’m glad you liked this post and I really appreciate your kind gesture, I would surely look into those ecoeggs.
      Have a great week !

    1. Oh, great! Need to make sure that you don’t replace ghee with any other cooking oil. Also if you serve 30 minutes after preparation, it tastes even more delicious. Hope your children would also love this delicious rasam. Please do let me know how they liked it. πŸ™‚
      Thanks so much.

  5. Nature’s best gift to our body is the neem flower and we south indians convert this into a lipsmacking Rasam which we dont like when we are kids but later get really addicted to having this with steamed rice. Beautiful share and I love such seasonal and traditional food.

  6. Ah, the good old days! πŸ™‚
    We make this rasam using zero lentil stock – just water. The tamarind is slightly on the higher side, and we use dried neem flowers instead of fresh ones. You’re tempting me to try out your version soon. Now, I’ve got to get hold of some fresh neem flowers!

    1. Oh, as you said we can prepare this rasam without lentil stock, but we need to use dried flowers only, as fresh flowers are too bitter to consume.
      Thanks so much.

  7. great to know about this recipe using neem flowers ! It’s true all these traditional recipes have so much health benefits .

    1. I totally agree with you. Since I’m not comfortable with eye ball measurements, initially I tried to standardize my measurements for our favorite foods that I can not afford to compromise the taste, but later I started doing the same for every recipe including idli batter, etc.
      I am sure that the measurements provided here would work well for you. Thanks.

  8. Very nice and healthy recipe – these are the old traditions and brought me memories of the vembu maram in my house which sprinkles those white tiny flowers during the season as if these are being dropped from heaven. Brought memories of standing under the tree and having fun with school girls.

    1. Yes, veppa maram shares beautiful childhood memories with each one of us. It was nice to see a blanket of these white flowers under the tree while enjoying the swings hung from this tree.
      I’m glad that this post evoked your childhood memories as well. Thanks so much.

    1. Yes, neem trees are amazing trees, recent studies say these trees could largely reduce the impact of global warming itself.
      Thank you.

  9. Sounds really interesting, never heard rasam with neem flowers…healthy bhi aur tasty bhi? soooper share Megala?

  10. There is nothing like our memories with our loved ones. I find it fascinating how we try to keep some of their ways alive because of our memories. This looks like another delicious recipe!

  11. Hi, there. How are you doing? I read your last post and it looks great. I have a couple of questions about it, If I didn’t have to get ready for today, i would chat more. I will be home later and get back to you about the questions I have.

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