Make Ahead

Sinfully Divine 'Lehiyam' truffles (Spiced Ginger truffles)

April 22, 2011
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Makes 10-15 pieces
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

The Lehiyam truffle packs a mighty experience of bold and luscious flavor within its small footprint. Panfusine has enrobed little balls of a traditional Indian spice paste (renowned for healthy digestive properties), in a silken coating of rich, creamy chocolate. This recipes makes for a cutting edge, artisanal chocolate experience, with coriander, cumin, pepper, and fresh ginger bursting out from the lush, velvety chocolate truffle. For the sake of expediency, I substituted pink and white peppercorns for the long pepper, dark brown sugar for the jaggery, and melted butter for the ghee. A single truffle makes a great little breakfast-on-the-run! The bright bold flavors awaken the palate while the chocolate offers a cushion of comfort. - AppleAnnie —AppleAnnie

What You'll Need
  • lehiyam
  • 1 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)
  • truffles
  • 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
  1. Notes: 1. Since long pepper may not be such a well known spice, here's a link to the image This spice tends to leave a 'zinging' sensation on the tongue, somewhat similar , but a much milder version of schezuan pepper. 2. Its worth using the tender ginger root especially since the lehiyam will be enrobed in chocolate and needs to be as smooth as possible.
  2. Using a coffee grinder, make a fine powder of the coriander, cumin & the 2 varieties of pepper. Sift using a fine strainer to remove any gritty pieces of spice.
  3. Add to the fresh ginger root paste & combine well.
  4. Crush the Jaggery into a powder, or into really tiny bits. (if the jaggery is soft enough, you could even grate it using a box grater). In a skillet, heat the jaggery or sugar over medium heat till it melts and forms a brown color syrup. Alternatively place in a pyrex measuring cup & 'nuke' in the microwave for ~ 30 s and then transfer into a pan.
  5. Add the spice paste & the ghee. mix well.
  6. Cook over low to medium heat till the moisture has evaporated & the mixture resembles a thick paste. ( the ghee begins to start oozing out of the paste). Just take care to ensure that the sugar or jaggery does not start caramelizing, which results in a toffee like consistency. Remove from stove & set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate till ready to use. (Of course ,you could just eat it all up at this point!). The 'lehiyam' keeps well for upto a month in a covered container.
  7. Using a 1/2 tsp measuring spoon, scoop out the lehiyam and roll into little marbles. Freeze to harden these.
  8. Melt the chocolate & heavy cream in a double boiler till it forms a smooth mixture.
  9. Keeping the chocolate mixture warm & flowing, dip the 'lehiyam' spheres into the chocolate to coat them evenly.
  10. Remove with a dry fork, making sure any excess chocolate drips out & place a sheet of parchment paper. Cover & leave in a cool dry place to set (preferably in the refrigerator.
  11. Once the chocolate coating has hardened,Pick each truffle and toss into the cocoa powder, lift out and place into paper cups. Top with a pinch of flavored finishing salts. (I used my own blend of buddhas hand citrus, and two varieties from provisions, the aleppo pepper and the sumac pepper salts).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • dymnyno
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • AntoniaJames
  • lorigoldsby
  • gingerroot
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

32 Reviews

dymnyno September 6, 2013
OH MY...every one of the recipes that you submitted sound fabulous!!!
Dave R. February 27, 2013
Great recipe Panfusine! My, slightly altered, version, went down a storm with family and friends. In case you like the idea, I coated the Lehiyam with the Ganache (Choc & cream) and then, after chilling, rolled some in melted very dark choc (for another texture and a slight crack as you bite into it, and rolled some in a mix of cocoa powder and ground ginger. Bother were delicious.
Panfusine February 27, 2013
LOVE the idea!, Thanks I simply MUST try this version out. Thank you!
LeBec F. February 12, 2012
panfusine, you are one HOT TICKET!!
AntoniaJames February 11, 2012
I'm definitely making these. Love the story, love the recipe! You're amazing, panfusine. That's all I can say. ;o)
Panfusine February 12, 2012
Thanks AJ!!
lorigoldsby April 28, 2011
beautiful story, incredible treat!
gingerroot April 28, 2011
Wonderful culinary journey...and to end up with these! Wow. These sound amazing, Panfusine!
Panfusine April 28, 2011
Thanks gingerroot!
lapadia April 27, 2011
Divine...says it all! Thanks for sharing...
Panfusine April 28, 2011
thanks lapadia!
healthierkitchen April 27, 2011
Beautiful! Love your family history in the headnote.
Panfusine April 27, 2011
it wasn't just the immediate family, it was more like a large chunk of the community, the South Indian orthodox traditions were just so different, very conservative no crazy 'lickering' up antics ever (Blasphemy!) , religious, .. & yet most girls were sent off to catholic convent schools for a good solid education!!
TiggyBee April 27, 2011
Lovely, Panfusine!
drbabs April 26, 2011
great great story, lovely recipe.
Panfusine April 28, 2011
thanks drbabs!
Sagegreen April 26, 2011
Love your spicing!
Panfusine April 28, 2011
my mother gets the credit for the spicing, the lehiyam is entirely her recipe that she handed down. I just 'dunked' it in molten chocolate!
Panfusine April 25, 2011
Thank you so much syronai!!,
Thanks for bringing up the clarification, My mother usually crushed the jaggery before heating it, simply because it would melt evenly, I tend to go either way since I take the microwave shortcut (nuke for about 30 s in the microwave till it melts). I'll make these changes in the recipe asap!
Emiko April 24, 2011
wssmom April 22, 2011
Love the story (and the recipe!)
Panfusine April 22, 2011
I can just picture the 'indignation' of the older generation if they were to read the annual Diwali ritual anecdotes!
Lizthechef April 22, 2011
A lovely story - an exotic recipe I would love to taste or try to replicate!
Panfusine April 22, 2011
Thank lizthechef! Every bit of it is true, Could not help smiling away at the nostalgia that swept thru while the thoughts flowed out of my head!, It wasn't hard convincing myself that how many ever of these I cd scarf down, the healing properties of the lehiyam would take care of it!!
beyondcelery April 22, 2011
This looks delicious, Panfusine! I hope my local Indian grocery has long pepper because this is definitely going to get a try in my kitchen.
Panfusine April 22, 2011
Thanks Syronai, The grocery stores usually do, ask for it by the name 'pippli'
beyondcelery April 23, 2011
Alas, I tried, but the owner of the market doesn't carry pippli at the moment. Would it work to use a bit more black peppercorns?
Panfusine April 23, 2011
you can make the lehiyam w/o the long pepper. As I said, every family has its own recipe & there really is no set recipe for the 'right' one. Although I've never included this myself, you could add 2-3 pods worth of cardamom seeds. Doubling the pepper to substitute may end up making the end product really spicy (the ginger is spicy by itself), maybe just 1-2 peppercorns more along with the cardamom.
beyondcelery April 23, 2011
Cardamom: my favorite spice! Done. Thanks, Panfusine.
beyondcelery April 25, 2011
I pronounce these: utterly delicious. Great recipe! I did manage to slightly caramelize the jaggery, but I got it off fast enough that it didn't seem to affect the texture too much. For future reference, do you crush the jaggery till it's completely broken down before you heat it? I chopped it into small bits, like I usually do, but I wondered if that may have caused the slight over-cooking.
Panfusine April 25, 2011
I posted this as a comment by mistake:

Thank you so much syronai!!, Thanks for bringing up the clarification, My mother usually crushed the jaggery before heating it, simply because it would melt evenly, I tend to go either way since I take the microwave shortcut (nuke for about 30 s in the microwave till it melts). I'll make these changes in the recipe asap!
beyondcelery April 25, 2011
Using the microwave is brilliant. (Why do I always seem to forget it exists?) I'll try that next time!