The Chettinad communities from Tamil Nadu are great connoisseurs of food and their festivals as well as weddings are celebrations of gastronomical delights. A visit to this town of awesome heritage mansions gives you an insight into the traditional ways of cooking still being practiced among the Chettiars.
Aadi Kummayam is a healthy and lip-smacking dessert of the Chettinad people and a must in all important functions, marriages and banquets. This dish is also served to pubertal girls along with raw egg and a teaspoon of sesame oil; it’s supposed to help in strengthening their bones, taking care of iron needs and general health.
Legend has it that a great poet of the 6th century, Vishu Chittar, wrote a hymn where he imagines himself to be mother Yashoda taking care of baby Krishna. The dessert Kummayam is mentioned in this ancient hymn where he admonishes baby Krishna for emptying the curd pot after devouring Kummayam with butter. Coming back to the dish, it’s worth mentioning that the lentils are a great source of protein, calcium and vitamins; traditionally, they are given to women who have just delivered, for a period of 40 days. The jaggery or palm sugar used in this preparation contains iron, minerals and some vitamins and is considered to be a health tonic in general.
Green gram – ½ cup
Urad dal – 1 Tbsp
Raw rice – 2 Tbsp
Jaggery/ Palm sugar – 1 cup
Ghee – 3 Tbsp
Dry roast all the three grains separately and then grind them together into a fine powder. Your Kummayam powder is ready and can be stored at room temperature. When you want to make Aadi Kummayam, add a cup of water to grated jaggery and allow it to dissolve slowly over the fire.
In a separate pot, add half the ghee and then mix the Kummayam powder into it and roast for 2-3 minutes. When a heavenly aroma starts to emanate, add the dissolved jaggery syrup and mix everything thoroughly over a low flame till it becomes thick.
Finally add the remaining ghee and keep turning till it leaves the sides of the vessel. Your scrumptious Aadi Kummayam is ready. You can serve it as a thick paste or you can spread onto a greased tray, allow it to cool and then cut it into neat squares for some stylish serving. For feeding young children, you can make it a little fluidic for easy consumption.
So, a dish containing such healthy ingredients is not only good for babies, but for all age groups too. The crunchy, sweet and earthy flavors are for everyone to enjoy!