Diwali is the one time, when everybody, irrespective on their take on fitness and healthy eating, throws all of it out of the window and eats like there’s no tomorrow! You start the day early and start stuffing your mouth (and stomach) and stop probably four days later, when either you can’t have another morsel or you’ve run out of goodies to eat!
The legiyam is traditionally eaten as soon as you take your bath and pray and much before you start stuffing your mouth with all the delicacies. This legiyam is an herbal medicine, made with things found in your pantry to strengthen your digestive system. This medicine also helps the body adjust to the changes in the temperature when autumn moves to winter. This medicine re-ignites the digestive fire, digests toxic build-up in the body and helps us fight the ill-effects of the heavy foods that we may indulge in at this time.
Each family has its own traditional recipe and the recipe below is the one my mom makes. Most people I know do not cook according to a recipe, they just have approximate amounts and then cook as they go along, adjusting the recipe to suit palates. I made the recipe slightly sweeter than what she suggested as I know S & BB can’t take spicy food, so if you can eat the spicy ginger, then go ahead and reduce the amount of jaggery in the recipe.
- 150 gms of ginger, peeled and chopped into smaller pieces
- 3 tsps of coriander seeds
- 1.5 tsps of cumin seeds
- 1.5 tsps of whole black peppers
- 10 pieces of cardamom, only use the pods, discard the outer covering
- 10 pieces of cloves
- 10 pieces of thippili
- ¾ tsp of cinnamon powder (you can use a 1 inch piece instead)
- 2 tsps of dry ginger powder (saunth/sukku)
- 1 cup (less or more) jaggery (according to taste)
- 3-5 tbsps of ghee (according to taste)
- In a largish bowl, put the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppers, cardamom pods, cloves, thippili, cinnamon powder and dry ginger powder and soak them for around 10-15 minutes.
- While the above are soaking, peel and chop the ginger into smallish pieces (this depends on the size of the mixer you will be using).
- Grind the ginger and when it becomes a paste, add in the soaked ingredients and continue grinding till it becomes a smooth paste
- Then in a non-stick pan, add the paste and start boiling it. The paste will be quite watery at first due to the water content, but as you cook it, it will gradually get harder. At this point, add the jaggery and 1-2 tbsps of ghee. You may want to add the jaggery a bit by bit, tasting as you go along so that you add only the right amount and it does not taste too spicy. The ghee will help it cook and when it reaches the consistency where the mixture starts leaving the sides of the bowl, it is ready. Remove from the flame and cook.
Have this first thing in the morning when you are going to indulge in heavy food and this will definitely help your stomach! This keeps for a few weeks in the fridge.