Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deepavali Marandhu (Diwali Medicine)

Perhaps the season has somewhat passed for this post, but I'm going forward anyhow because this is one of my favorite subjects and a favorite pursuit of mine. Each year during Deepavali my mom would pull our a strange jar of something that resembled tar and give each of us a spoonful. It was Diwali medicine and supposed to be good for health and taken to mitigate the over consumption of sweets. It might be worth bringing up now because I know I've been over indulging in Christmas cookies, persimmon puddings, peppermint barks and the like!  I never liked the taste of this stuff this growing up, but enjoyed the ritual. Now as an adult I found myself so curious about this medicine, its ingredients and preparation. I gave my mom an assignment on her last visit to Chidambaram, the small town in Tamil Nadu where my family home is. I asked her to find out the recipe for Deepavali marandhu and bring home the raw ingredients. It brings together 6 herbs with honey, nei (ghee) and vellum (jaggery/raw cane sugar) the recipe will come in the next post, but for now here are the ingredients. Other recipes also include cumin, cardamom, and black pepper corns.  Some recipes also include poppy seeds, clove and turmeric. 

Piper longum - roots

Kanda thippili is also a delicacy used in one version of the South Indian staple soup "Rasam"

Piper longum - dried fruits

A sharp alternative to the usual pepper corns, Indian Long Pepper was another spice that set the world to wars over its discovery

After much research I still cannot ID what this is - help?

Zingiber officinale - dried ginger root

There are thousands of documented uses worldwide for gastrointestinal disorders.

Smilax sp.

Various species in the Smilax genus are used world wide as medicines. Sarsparilla comes from one related species. 

Trachyspermum ammi - Ajwain seeds

Ajwain is a delicious spice that is called Caraway in the West. 

1 comment:

Vig K said...

Hi there: I believe your seethirathia is dried galangal root.
Vig