Kummiyanam is a nutritious dessert made of rice, assorted legumes & palm jaggery prepared by the people in Tirunelveli, Nagerkoil, or Kanyakumari. It is offered to the lamented souls while remembering them in Aadi month (a Tamil calendar month usually falls between 15th of July & 15th of August). In this month we remember departed men on Aadi amavasyai (no moon day) and women on aadi irudhi (last day of Aadi). Likewise, I heard Japanese visiting cemeteries during the same period to remember the departed.
On the last day of Aadi month (Aadi iruthi) people remember dheerka sumangali (a woman who died while her husband is alive) of their family as it was believed that those women guide the family from heaven. We all remember our grandmother on this day and offer Kummiyanam & ulundha vadai to the figurine made of a new sari representing her as shown below. Nowadays many of us do not make such figurine and it is replaced by her photo.
It was a heavenly sight to see those houses at the dusk filled with aromas of various flowers, incenses, sandal paste, etc. The photo below is taken at the residence of my husband’s uncle in Tirunelveli on this Aadi Iruthi remembering my husband’s grandmother.
Health Benefits: It is a good idea for vegetarians/ vegans to take a mixture of various legumes along with rice to get a full spectrum of amino acids equivalent to a complete source of protein. You may check here to know more about the benefits of legumes published by American Institute for Cancer Research. Palm jaggery aids in digestion and also acts as a cleanser & wipes out toxins from our system.
Although kummiyanam is being prepared specially for this festival, my grand mother used to prepare this payasam frequently & serve as a dessert during lunch. It is a nutritious payasam that can be served to children or elders alike. You can find the recipe for kummiyanam as below:
Total time taken: 40 min
Yields : 2 cups
- Red rice – 1 tbsp
- Greengram (paasi payaru) – 1 tbsp
- Lima beans (mochai payaru) – 1 tbsp
- Cowpeas (Kaaramani) – 1 tbsp
- Chickpeas (konda kadalai) – 1 tbsp
- Blackgram (karuppu ulundhu) – 1 tbsp
- Horsegram (kollu) – 1 tbsp
- Palm jaggery powder(karuppatti) – ¾ cup
- Dried ginger (chukku) – 1″ piece
- Cardamom (yelam) – 1 No.
- Ghee (nei) – 1 tbsp
- Cashew nuts (mundhri) – 10 Nos.
- Water – 4 cups (3 cups for pressure cooking, 1 cup for syrup)
- Heat a sauce pan with palm jaggery & water until dissolved and keep aside.
- Powder dried ginger & cardamom using mortar & pestle and keep aside.
- Dry roast rice & legumes separately until they release their aroma.
- Grind roasted rice & legumes into a coarse powder (approximately ¾ cup).
- Pressure cook powdered rice & legumes (simmer for 15 min after reaching high pressure).
- Add palm jaggery syrup into cooked legumes through a fine mesh and allow the mixture to boil in medium flame.
- Add powdered ginger & cardamom before removing from heat.
- Add roasted cashews & ghee into kummiyanam and serve hot or chilled.
- You can use rice of your choice instead of red rice.
- Some may not use roasted rice, instead they add rice flour solution into the cooked legumes and allow it to boil before pouring syrup. Rice flour solution is used as a thickening agent.