Taste of Madurai in a glass: Try this iconic 'jigarthanda'

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‘Jigarthanda’, the Tamil movie directed by Karthik Subbaraj had set the cash registers ring at the box office. The movie was a success even in the theatres in Kerala, drawing crowds. However, not many know that jigarthanda is in fact a delicious drink that is as popular as the iconic Jallikattu in Madurai. There are hundreds of wayside shops in Madurai selling cool and refreshing jigarthanda that nourishes the soul and appeals to the taste buds.

‘Jigar’ means heart and ‘thanda’ means cool. So, jigarthanda means the drink that cools the heart. The cool jigarthanda is extremely refreshing and is quite filling too. Even though Madurai is home to jigarthanda, this drink has become popular at all corners of the world where Tamilians live. Interestingly, jigarthanda feels refreshing during summers as well as the rainy seasons. You wouldn’t be able to find a street in Madurai that doesn’t have a shop selling jigarthanda. Depending upon the quality of the ingredients and the popularity of the shops, a glass of jigarthanda would cost from Rs 30 to Rs 150.

Vendors selling various goods at street market near Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Photo: Shutterstock/CRS PHOTO

Even though you could call jigarthanda a Tamil variety of the milk shake, almond pisin or almond gum is used as the main ingredient. It is prepared by soaking the almonds for up to 8 – 10 hours. These soaked almonds are then mixed into a jelly like consistency to make the gum.

Here is how to make delicious jigarthanda at home.

3 nannari syrup or sarasaparilla
Almond gum
Condensed milk
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Take the nannari syrup and almond gum in a large glass
Into it, add milk and condensed milk alternatively

When the glass is almost full, mix well using a spoon or a stick blender
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
You could add the flavour of your choice
Cool and delicious jigarthanda is ready!

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