Kalyana Rasam Upholds The Essence Of Tamil Brahmin Weddings
Image Credit: Iconic Kalyana rasam, delicioustreats4u@Instagram

It is that time of the year, when the wedding season sweeps India. Like the enormousness of the country, the wedding rituals of across its various regions leave one flabbergasted. The sheer diversity of customs, traditions, beliefs and even wedding food are enough to amaze anyone. Let’s zero in on Tamil Nadu, further to its traditional dish known as Kalyana Rasam. Any guesses? The name has the hint.   

Though it might sound like any other rasam, but this one is traditionally offered at South Indian weddings. And hence the moniker "Kalyana Rasam." Kalyana roughly translates to welfare and wellbeing. This rasam is also known as "Brahmin Kalyana Rasam" in Tam-Brahm weddings since there is no garlic added to it. It has a perfect blend of sour, spicy, and somewhat sweet flavours, and it tastes absolutely fantastic.

It is famous for its flavour and taste and is specifically prepared for the Iyengar Tamil Brahmin wedding feast. This unique rasam variant, also known as Sathamudhu, is prepared using tomatoes and freshly ground spices. The Kalyana rasam stands out from the other elaborate side dishes because of its simple, mellow, and tart flavour. It is supposedly delicious when served with hot rice and an appalam or pappad. If prepared at home on days other than weddings, it is also known as poritha rasam. In order to avoid tamarind, which is thought to be the cause of anaemia, this variation is typically served as a staple to new mothers.

A hearty and healthy rasam, Image Source: tamilnadutourism

There are many theories and thoughts crediting the unique taste of this rasam. Usually, any rasam is prepared in a tin pot or a vessel with a tin coating and thus has a characteristic aroma. The use of tin containers contributes to the flavour of the most cherished Kalyana Rasam. Huge pots are used to prepare the wedding feast. Chefs drop a small tin vessel to the enormous pot called Eeya Chombu to add flavour; this vessel is later removed when the rasam is ready to be served.

Dropping eeya chombu in rasam, Image Source:paticheri@Instagram

Once what was accepted without hesitation, as years passed by many started doubting the safety of using of eeya chombu. However, the logic goes this way. Because of its Tamil name, tin vessels have a popular misnomer. Tin is also referred to as eeya pathiram. Although it was once known as Velleeyam, the word "Vell" means "white", over time people began calling it eeyam. Because lead and another metal both go by the name Kaareeyam, Kaar is Arabic for "black" or "dark", people often mistake one for the other. Tin is safe to use for cooking because it is Velleeyam. 

Next time when you attend a Tamil Brahmin wedding, appreciate Kalyana Rasam for its fascinating story!