There are some things unique to Madurai. Jigarthanda is one such....
Jigarthanda is the famous cold beverage popular in Madurai. There are varying claims about the origin of this traditional 'cold-drink'. The name being in Urdhu ( Jigar meaning Liver, Thand meaning cold), the general assumption is that the drink must have come with the Muslim settlers from the North. The milk based drink gets its unique taste from the addition of Badam Pisin ( Almond tree resin). Either Rose syrup or Nannari syrup gives the flavor. Locally made malai Ice cream scoops (usually plain vanilla flavor ) are an innovative addition to the drink. There is also a theory that China Grass or Agar agar( kadal paasi) was the original authentic ingredient instead of Badam pisin. Sometimes a layer of basundhi is added to the drink as an extra delicacy and sold as "Special Jigarthanda".
|Ammanullah making his Famous Jigarthanda. Photo : A.Srikumar|
The best place to taste Jigarthanda in Madurai is the "Famous Jigarthanda" shop at East Marret street (Vilakkuthoon). Famous Jigarthanda also has a popular branch at the 80 feet road, Anna Nagar.
You can also get a taste of Jigarthandas at a shop in East Avanimoola street (Opposite Old Imperial Cinema) and a small shop at Manjanakara street. I also noticed Jigarthanda being sold at the Murugan Idli shop at West Masi Street. Apart from these , there are quite a few other spots and even Hand carts that sell them in many parts of the city.
|Jigarthanda at Kannan stores|
Nithila had her first taste of Jigarthanda at the Kannan Departmental Stores at Bye Pass road, Madurai and loved it.
|Reaction after first taste of Jigarthanda !|
If you are from Bangalore, then you can get a decent drink at the Aachi's at ESI Hospital road, Indiranagar.
If you want to try it yourself, then visit Pavithra's food blog for the recipe.