Kummiyanam is a nutritious dessert made of rice, assorted legumes & palm jaggery prepared by the people in Tirunelveli, Nagerkoil, or Kanyakumari. It is offered to the lamented souls while remembering them in Aadi month (a Tamil calendar month usually falls between 15th of July & 15th of August). In this month we remember departed men on Aadi amavasyai (no moon day) and women on aadi irudhi (last day of Aadi). Likewise, I heard Japanese visiting cemeteries during the same period to remember the departed.

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On the last day of Aadi month (Aadi iruthi) people remember dheerka sumangali (a woman who died while her husband is alive) of their family as it was believed that those women guide the family from heaven. We all remember our grandmother on this day and offer Kummiyanam & ulundha vadai to the figurine made of a new sari representing her as shown below. Nowadays many of us do not make such figurine and it is replaced by her photo.

img_0664 Kummiyanam

It was a heavenly sight to see those houses at the dusk filled with aromas of various flowers, incenses, sandal paste, etc. The photo below is taken at the residence of my husband’s uncle in Tirunelveli on this Aadi Iruthi remembering my husband’s grandmother.

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Health Benefits of taking various legumes: It is a good idea for vegetarians/ vegans to take a mixture of various legumes along with rice to get a full spectrum of amino acids equivalent to a complete source of protein. You may check here to know more about the benefits of legumes published by American Institute for Cancer Research. Palm jaggery aids in digestion and also acts as a cleanser & wipes out toxins from our system.

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Kummiyanam Recipe:

Although kummiyanam is prepared specially for this festival, we can prepare this payasam frequently & serve as a dessert during lunch. Now the recipe for kummiyanam is as below:

Total time taken: 40 min
Yields : 2 cups

Ingredients :

img_0625 Kummiyanam
Legumes used for making kummiyanam
  1. Red rice (mapillai samba arisi) – 1 tbsp
  2. Greengram (paasi payaru) – 1 tbsp
  3. Lima beans (mochai payaru) – 1 tbsp
  4. Cowpeas (Kaaramani) – 1 tbsp
  5. Chickpeas (konda kadalai) – 1 tbsp
  6. Blackgram (karuppu ulundhu) – 1 tbsp
  7. Horsegram (kollu) – 1 tbsp
  8. Palm jaggery powder(karuppatti)  – ¾ cup
  9. Dried ginger (chukku) – 1″ piece
  10. Cardamom (yelam) – 1 No.
  11. Ghee (nei) – 1 tbsp
  12. Cashew nuts (mundhri) – 10 Nos.
  13. Water – 4 cups (3 cups for pressure cooking, 1 cup for syrup)

Cooking Method:

  • Heat a sauce pan with palm jaggery & water until dissolved and keep aside.
  • Powder dried ginger & cardamom using mortar & pestle and keep aside.
  • Dry roast rice & legumes separately until they release their aroma.
  • Grind roasted rice & legumes into a coarse powder (approximately ¾ cup).
  • Pressure cook powdered rice & legumes (simmer for 15 min after reaching high pressure).
  • Add palm jaggery syrup into cooked legumes through a fine mesh and allow the mixture to boil in medium flame.
  • Add powdered ginger & cardamom before removing from heat.
  • Add roasted cashews & ghee into kummiyanam and serve hot or chilled.


  1. You can use any traditional rice variety instead of red rice.
  2. Some prefer to use rice flour instead of adding rice as it is useful as a thickening agent.

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  1. I wasn’t aware about this custom.. We have sumangali pondagal though.. before/after any auspicious function like wedding..

    1. Yes, it is unlikely that many people heard such customs. Nowadays it has been practiced by few people in southern Tamilnadu!

      1. Yeah that might be reason. Since we belong to palakkad, we do not follow a lot of tamilnadu customs!! My paati is from Thanjavur though!!

  2. Wow, very informative and I have never heard about this – We in Sri Lankan tamils do it on “Aadi amavasai”. I believe this is different.

    1. Yes, we all remember departed males on all amavasai (including Aadi), but this is the only day we remember females who were kanni (spinster) or sumangali !
      Thanks for stopping by !

  3. Such a deeply emotional dish- There’s a lot of history and passion in that recipe right there. I would love to taste it, but it’s just fascinating to hear about the origins, too.

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