Chennai resident keeps ‘Deepavali marundhu’ tradition alive

Hema Vidyasankar preparing legiyam at her house in Nanganallur.

Chennai: While the Deepavali spirits have already seeped through the city, the markets are abuzz with activities and Nanganallur is no exception. The aroma of black peppercorn and the juice of ginger from a house reins the air.

Amid the din and bustle of MGR Road in Nanganallur is Hema Vidyasankar who has chosen to take the old route. She goes the extra mile to prepare the Deepavali marundhu at home. Thanks to her mother from where the tradition was passed down.

Though few residents are trying to keep the age-old practices alive, the tradition of making the legiyam is no more happening which is consumed on an empty stomach before taking a bath. Instead families go for the ready-made.
Hema speaks to News Today about the medicine, what made her continue to keep up the custom and more. She also takes us through the process of making the marundhu.

“Women credit the lack of time and eventually they end up buying the readymade. However, making the legiyam involves no sweat and is not at all plain sailing,” Hema tells.

She learnt the trick from her mother Saraswathi, and the family has been doing it for several generations without breaking the norm. “I have always preferred everything homemade, even the lipsmacking paruppu podi I make at home,” Hema adds while sorting out the requirements to make the marundhu.


Deepavali marundhu in making

Grinding the ginger, she says it requires a little more than 15 minutes to cook. Firstly, the powder has to be made dry roasting coriander seeds, cumin seeds and carom seeds with around 50 gm each and then herbs should be grounded.
Hema goes on to narrate how the legiyam should be made. “The juice of 250 gm ginger should be boiled in a heavy-bottomed pan,” she tells as she mixes while the strong aroma of ginger fills the air.

She pulls out 150 gm of powdered jaggery, mixes in the pan and stirs well and adds powdered-herbs. As the medicine thickens, Hema pours around 50 gm butter to it and whips it until the legiyam gets separated from pan. While she continues to whisk, “The Deepavali legiyam can be easily stored for at least for a year by refrigerating and maintaining properly and is an anti-dote for stomach ailments like indigestion,” she says and gives a dollop of buttery, spicy legiyam to taste and warns not to consume water immediately.