In search of Mughal culture in Tamil Nadu

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In search of Mughal culture in Tamil Nadu

Post by Rashmun on Wed May 23, 2018 9:13 am

Sheikh Abdul Qader is not an easy man to miss. For one, he runs the most famous jigarthanda store in Madurai, the rather immodestly (if obviously) named Famous Jigarthanda. Secondly, when this affable 50-year-old smiles, as he is wont to whenever he speaks, he reveals a mouth only partially filled with teeth, which are all on the left side. “I am a sugar patient,” he says, trying to explain away the gaping hole on the right. But listen to his story, and you may arrive at a different conclusion. Qader was 10 when he joined the family business, which was run from a pushcart. (This store, which is really just a stand backing into a small one-room by the side of the corridor leading to the Madanagopalaswamy temple, came into existence five years ago.) His mother’s brother taught him the ropes. “And when he was not looking, I used to drink countless glasses of jigarthanda.” Could that be why Qader is a walking-talking cautionary tale today, which mothers can tell their chocolate-bound children? “Now,” Qader says somewhat ruefully, “I limit myself to two glasses a day.”

Little girls in school uniforms hand Qader steel dabbasto be filled with jigarthanda, which is Madurai’s most favourite roadside drink. But chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni, over the course of a telephonic conversation, locates the origin of jigarthanda to regions more northwards. “Just look at the name,” he says. “Those are Hindi words — jigar thanda is something that cools the heart. The drink was invented to cool the hearts of Muslim settlers in India. It is thought that the Mughals brought it in.” Aruni points to its mention in the Ain-i-Akbari, that administrative record of Akbar’s reign. “It is called something different there,” Aruni says. “But that drink too is made with almond pisin (gum).” The pisin is the thing that separates jigarthanda from its northern cousin, the falooda, which uses vermicelli and is therefore scooped up and eaten; jigarthanda, on the other hand, is stirred and drunk....

Jigarthanda, though, was a fixture at wedding nights. Almond is an aphrodisiac, and milk a soporific. “The almond pisin would give them strength, and the milk would later help them sleep,” says Aruni, seemingly unaware that the drink has just made the leap from cooling the heart to warming the loins. He guesses that jigarthanda must have come to the Pandya kingdom along with Mughal cuisine, possibly through a marriage alliance. “Also, the Muslim population of Madurai, who were originally from Hyderabad, must have brought it with them, as people had the habit of bringing along their own kitchen staff.” Now, of course, jigarthanda is associated more with Madurai than with Lucknow or Hyderabad...

Is jigarthanda made of almond pisin, as Aruni claims, or kadal paasi, as everyone else seems to refer to the gelatinous substance that dissolves into noodle-like extrusions? The confusion is resolved by Qader, as he discloses his recipe. “The almond pisin looks like kadal paasi, so everyone calls it that. It’s the same thing.” (I wonder what the professor, with his seafaring theories, would have to say to this.)

http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/in-search-of-madurai-jigarthanda/article3896831.ece

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Re: In search of Mughal culture in Tamil Nadu

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Wed May 23, 2018 1:41 pm

Nice to see you back and posting after taking a break, Rashmun.
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Re: In search of Mughal culture in Tamil Nadu

Post by Rashmun on Wed May 23, 2018 2:13 pm

Seva Lamberdar wrote:Nice to see you back and posting after taking a break, Rashmun.

thanks. good to see u here as well. Btw, what happened to Vakavaka? Why has he started behaving in a rude and obnoxious manner towards you?


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Re: In search of Mughal culture in Tamil Nadu

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Wed May 23, 2018 3:22 pm

Rashmun wrote:
Seva Lamberdar wrote:Nice to see you back and posting after taking a break, Rashmun.

thanks. good to see u here as well. Btw, what happened to Vakavaka? Why has he started behaving in a rude and obnoxious manner towards you?

I have no clue -- you should ask him.
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