My fate as a potential geek was sealed the instant I was born into a South Indian orthodox Tamil family. If Indians in general are stereotypically regarded by the world as studious nerds, Its the quintessential South Indian that fits the bill even within the home country.
Growing up in Mumbai, we had our tradition of celebrating the Festival of lights, Diwali. When the rest of the population was living it up at all night Diwali parties, we'd wake up @ 4.30 a.m, dutifully have the traditional oil bath, wear new clothes & march off to the temple as the first rays of the sun hit!. And upon returning with the Lords blessing, (or if you were a borderline heretic like me, 'scope out' & 'roll eyes' @ the prevailing sartorial trend amongst the faithful), tuck into a cornucopia of indulgent, decadent treats, made at home. (the store bought stuff was for those who did not have the 'culinary skills'!).
You see, there was really no limit to overindulging oneself because of this magic potion that Amma (mommy) always made. The 'LEHIYAM'. This had the power to nullify any digestion related upsets .. real or imagined!
A couple of decades later, my culinary capers, via my blog, has in many ways tried to 'upset' the proverbial apple cart of South Indian cuisine. I've made waffles out of their beloved 'medu vadai' (a savory deep fried lentil doughnut), cupcakes out of 'idlies' ( a revered breakfast steamed rice cake) and sushi rolls out of Thayir saadham, (yogurt rice), to name a few.
While light heartedly bantering with my other half about what to make for Diwali last November, I ended up meddling with the ultimate cure all..and (at least to the immediate family), the 'Lehiyam' was never the same again!!
The 'Lehiyam' is an Incredibly addictive, jam like, sweet & spicy tonic made with a number of spices (every family has its own recipe). Yes, there are commercial brands available dime a dozen, but for Diwali, nothing else but a home made version is good enough.
Well, If there is anything I'd like to be remembered for at the end of one year of culinary creativity (I effectively began serious food blogging around this time last year), it would be converting the hallowed elixir that has withstood centuries of tradition into a sinful chocolate confection…
the 'lehiyam' truffle. – Panfusine
Ingredients1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 long pepper (piper longum)
4-5 black peppercorns
1/4 cup tender fresh ginger root, ground to a fine paste
1/3 cup jaggery or sticky muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
1 2 bars 64 % Guittard semisweet chocolate (100 gms)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
crystals of sea salt for decorating
1/2 cup Guittard cocoa powder