Madurai, Tamil Nadu is famed for its Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Madurai of Date is different from the Madurai mentioned in Tamil Literature of The Sangam period.(Madurai of the present is mentioned in the last Sangam Era-Kadai Sangam)
The first Madurai, it is recorded was in the Lemuria Continent along with Kapadapuaram, both were washed away by ,possibly Tsunami.
We Madurai pf the present was known, in the earlier times as , Vada Madurai.
We do have a Vada Madurai and Mana Madurai in Siva Ganga District of Tamil Nadu.
While the former’s etymology is not known, Mana Madurai seems to have derived its name from.,Maru Madurai-the other Madurai(the starting letter being M).
Madurai is known not only for Meenakshi Amman Temple, Vandiyur Mariamman .Tirumalai Naicker Mahal and Jasmine Buds.
Less known , but unique features are ‘Stores”, S’eaMoss Drink’
It was and is common to have families of India living in a big House separated by walls into many small portions to Live.
These Homes are called ’Nestling Homes” Ondik Kudiththanam’.
Triplicane area of Chennai is very famous.
These were / are located near the Big Street and the Parthasarathy Temple, where ,hold your breath, even 10 to 15 families Live in a small House.
Madurai had ( does it have now Homes of this nature some 50 years back.
They were called ‘Stores’
It is generally a long corridor of a construction, where minimum 15 families lived.
The Store had a Common Hand Pump,located outside the house , on the platform(kerb) and eater had to be taken from here, including for Drinking.
There used to be a maximum of one Toilet for the entire 15 families.
The area of each House (?) was about 125 to 150 square feet.
People never used to lock their Houses in the night even!
At nights they used to sleep on a cot on the pavement outside the house in winter and during Summer erected a Thatched Roof on the pavement, called Pandal‘(made of dried Coconut Tree leaves ) .
Any function of any house is your House function.
So are the tragedies.
If you were sick or unable to cook or if guests arrive unannounced, you had your neighbors to take care of food.
If your guests did not have sufficient sleeping space at your house, do not worry, neighbors were there.
We now have Flat system where one does not know who lives the next door, all Flats’ doors are closed and bolted throughout the day; if you try wishing them they give you a reprehensible look and if you are lucky, a reluctant smirk!
The other thing Madurai is famous is Sea Moss(they claim so) Cool Drink.
It is very cool( I am not using the term in the modern usage where it denotes anything between amazing, astonishing, slow don, but the dictionary meaning or has it also changed?) and invigorating.
The other one is road side eateries ares on the pavements in front of the house.
A Pavement Eatery,Madurai
Those who do this are not professional Hoteliers, but house wives.
The Idli of Madurai Road side eateries are to be tried to be believed for softness and taste.
Added to that minimum eight chutney of different combinations , apart from Gunpowder and Gingelly Oil.
The Food is available through out the night, in fact the sleeps.
Is called ‘Thoonga Nagaram” The City that never Sleeps
I have tried them recently.
Though they are good, they are not anywhere near what they were!
Preparation of Jigar Thanda.
Things needed: 1. Milk 2. China Grass (Commonly known as “Kadal Paasi” in Tamil) 3. Sarsaparilla syrup (Commonly known as “Nannaari Syrub” in Tamil) 4. Ice-cream (Vanila flavour is Ideal)
Steps: 1. Boil the milk till it reduce to half in volume. This is to increase the thickness of milk which will add good taste to the recipe. When milk turns into pale yellow colour then it is the indication that the milk has been brought to good condition. Now remove from boiling and let it come to room temperature. Then refrigerate this for a while. 2. Soak the china grass (Mostly available in many super markets) in water for about 3 hours. After 3 hours it will look like pieces of jellies. Now take out the china grass from water. 3. Now take a glass – Pour milk up to half of the glass – Mix well the sarsaparila syrub and china grass with milk – Finally put a scoop of vanila ice-cream on top – Enjoy the drink.
Note: 1. Badam pisins may be substituted for china grass. 2. Rose syrup is predominantly used in many shops instead of sarsaparilla syrub.
- Milk – 5 cups
- China Grass (Agar Agar) – 5 gms
- Sugar – 1 cup (you can add less sugar if you please) or alternatively u can add half a tin of *Milkmaid(tm) this will reduce the cooking time of the milk and give it the faint pink color soon.
- Nannari – 1 tbsp (Available in syrup form in Ayurvedic shops) / Rose syrup – 1 tbsp
- Ice cream – 1 scoop for one glass,
- Sago(javarishi / sabudana) – 1 small cup soaked in water for 2–3 hours
- Boil the milk in a saucepan, till it turns slightly pink.
- In case you are using milkmaid then check for sugar, if you need more sweet you can add sugar to taste and stir until it dissolves and when the mik turns slightly pink, switch off the gas.
- Allow it to come to room temperature and then refrigerate it.
- Take some hot milk (from the milk we boiled with sugar/ milkmaid) from the saucepan and add in another vessel, Add the sago to this milk and cook till the sago becomes transparent.
- Switch off the gas.
- Keep this separately and refrigerate it.
- Prepare the Agar Agar Jelly and keep the cubes ready accordingly.
- Take a tall glass tumbler, pour one ladle of the cool milk with the sago, ensuring that there is enough sago at the bottom of your glass.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the Agar Agar (China Grass) jelly that u have cut into cubes and kept.
- Add the nannari syrup, if nannari is not available you can also add rose syrup which is commonly available, Rose is also known for its cooling properties if consumed.
- Now pour the boiled cool milk on top of all this leaving just quarter of a space in the tumbler.
- Top it up with a scoop of ice cream.
To add a special touch to your jigar thanda add a tablespoon of Theretti pal or Paal Khoa.
Madurai Idli Recipe.
Preparation time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes ~ 20 idlis
Ingredients for the Idli Batter:
2 cups of par-boiled ponni rice
1 cup of whole, husked urad dal / ulutham paruppu / uzhunnu parippu
1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds / menthayam / uluva
A handful of cooked rice
Salt to taste
How to Make Idlis:
1. Soak the rice and dal separately, the dal for about an hour and the rice for about 4 hours. Add the fenugreek seeds to the urad dal while soaking.
2. Grind the urad dal first, with just enough water to grind it to a smooth paste. Once done, remove and set aside.
3. Next, grind the soaked rice. When its almost done but still grainy, add the cooked rice and salt. Grind until smooth and add to the already ground urad dal.
4. Fold together until well combined. Leave in a warm place undisturbed for atleast 8 hours or overnight. Leave enough room in the vessel for the batter to ferment and rise.
5. Once fermented and risen, mix well to let all the air bubbles to escape and the batter to come together well. Don’t overbeat, and if its too thick, add a little water. For idlis, the batter should be slightly thick but of pouring consistency.
6. Pour into oiled indli moulds and steam for not more than 12 minutes. Overcooking idlis can result in very hard idlies and a dry crust on top. Its better to undercook them even, but make sure you don’t overcook idlis.
Serves 20 Idlis.