Dessert of Chettinad: Kummayam
Since time immemorial, the land of India has been known for its culture and tradition that remains unique to each of its regions. Indian food like its culture is varied. The blend of varied herbs and spices make every dish quite unique and special.
The Moghuls, the Cholas and the Pallavas contributed to the growth of the subcontinent when they reigned the lands. Apart from their visual works of art and culture, these dynasties have also left behind some authentic recipes that are, to this day, considered as traditional legacies in India. One of these recipes includes a well-known Chettinad dish – Kummayam.
Kummayam and Lord Krishna
Legend has it that Vishu Chittar, a poet from the 6th century, wrote a hymn personifying himself as Yashoda taking care of young Krishna. The hymn further writes how young Krishna helped himself a pot of Kummayam with butter. It’s a delicacy that left its traces not only in the kitchen but also in the pages that spoke of Krishna and his mischiefs.
Celebrations with Kummayam
This special Chettinad sweet is offered to Parvathi Devi during the Tamil month Aadi and is also served as a dish in all Chettinad functions like Marriages, and in important banquets.
Kummayam contains moong dal, lentils, urad dal, ghee and jaggery making it a healthy sweet to devour. All the three grains are dry roasted separately and then ground together into a fine powder. Kummayam powder can be stored at room temperature.
To make Kummayam, a cup of water is added to grated jaggery and it is allowed to dissolve slowly over the fire. In a separate pot, ghee and Kummayam powder are mixed and roasted for 2-3 minutes. When a heavenly aroma starts to emanate, the dissolved jaggery syrup is added and mixed thoroughly over a low flame till it becomes thick. Finally ghee is added and the mixture is turned till it leaves the sides of the vessel.
Varied forms of Kummayam
It can be served as a thick paste, similar to halwa, with a soft and smooth texture. It can be spread onto a greased tray, allowed to cool and then cut it into neat squares for some stylish serving. For feeding young children, it can be made a little fluidic for easy consumption.
Health Benefits of Kummayam
Kummayam is also served as a health tonic as it contains iron, protein, vitamins and calcium for women and children. Consuming Kummayam gives instant energy as it replenishes the body. It is given to girl children during puberty and to the pregnant ladies to gain uterus strength. Kummayam helps muscle building and the overall development of the body. Traditionally, they are given to women who have just delivered, for a period of 40 days.
Give Kummayam a whip and bring it to your next house party or come Aadi or a South Indian Wedding, visit Amma’s South Indian Cuisine to feast on such authentic traditional South Indian dishes.