Today Amma made Vepampoo Rasam for lunch. Its made atleast once a month and sometimes twice. This is actually medicine that you eat as food !!
White and delicate, neem flowers are therapeutic. My father would insist on making Neem flower rasam as it helped with treating intestinal worms. I read somewhere that these flowers could also be used for treating nausea and anorexia. They are slightly bitter in taste and in South India, every year these flowers are collected, soaked in salty buttermilk and then sundried. They stay for a long time and are used in a spice powder or in rasam.
The recipe for the vepampoo rasam is quite simple – Two TBSPs of dried neem flowers (you can use fresh ones, but you don’t get these throughout the year), a couple of dried red chillies, tamarind water, a couple of tomatoes. Roast the red chillies and neem flowers with a little oil, add the tamarind water (1 TBSP tamarind paste diluted in 1.5 cups of water) and diced tomatoes. Bring it to a boil. Add salt, asafoetida and popped mustard seeds and Vepampoo Rasam is ready !
I clicked a picture of the neem flowers yesterday during our morning walk. This is the flowering season for the Neem tree.