The Diwali Legiyam!

An antidote for digestion problems that may result from our festivity induced, gastronomic indulgences, Diwali Legiyam is a herbal medicine of sorts to strengthen the digestive system! This is a traditional medicine that is usually made in most families during Diwali time – a time when we tend to throw caution to the winds and indulge in sweets and savories. Additionally, Diwali falls during the season change time between summer and winter in India, which is a time for the body to re-adjust itself to the changing weather and a susceptible time when we tend to catch colds and other infections. This medicine re-ignites the digestive fire, digests toxic build-up/ama in the body and helps us fight the ill-effects of the heavy foods that we may indulge in at this time.

Ingredients:

Ajwain (omam) – 25 gm

Arisi thippili (dried long pepper) – 20 gm

Kanda thippili (dried root of long pepper plant) – 20 gm

Athimathuram (liquorice root) – 10 gm

Dry ginger (sukku) – 25 gm

Chitharathai (‘thai ginger’ or ‘finger root’) – 10 gm

Sirunaga poo – 10 gm

Parangipattai – 10 gm

Vayu vidanga (False black pepper) – 20 gm

Valmilagu (cubebs or tailed pepper) – 10 gm

Milagu (black pepper) – 4 tbsp

Dry dates – 100 gm

Dry grapes (raisins) – 50 gm

Ghee – 300 gm

Jaggery – 3/4 kg

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Method:

1. Break arisi thippili, kanda thippili, athimathuram, chitharathai, parangipattai and dry dates (remove the seeds) into small pieces.

2. Dry-roast all the ingredients (except dry dates and dry grapes) in a kadai for five minutes on low flame.

3. Soak dry dates and dry grapes separately in warm water overnight. Soak all other ingredients in water overnight as well.

4. Grind all the ingredients using the soaked water into a fine paste.

5. In a kadai, add the ground paste and saute for five minutes. Then, add grated jaggery and saute again on medium flame.

7. Add ghee in small intervals and saute till you get a fine paste and it reaches ‘halwa consistency’. It should be non-sticky; if you can roll it out as soft balls, then you’ve got the right consistency.

The above method is the traditional one of making the medicine. However, due to constraints of time, people prefer instant powder that is readily available in local medicine shops. Once you buy it, mix it with twice the quantity of water and cook in a heavy-bottomed vessel. Add jaggery and ghee until the legiyam comes together and the ghee is separated.

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