Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jil Jil Jigarthanda and the memories of hometown

When in  sun , you miss the shade . So true. Easily available things often get under estimated. That is how I feel and long for certain things which you don't get in any other part of the world. Home and hometown always leads this list while some others are silent followers.

I've earlier told you all that I've teamed up with Dolphia , Anjana , Subhasmitha and Jyothi in doing a themed post every month.This month the unanimous choice was 'cold beverages to have a sip' and this is my contribution towards this theme.

Summer is here and it's quite unbearable called Amma over the phone. Just wanted to go back few years and relive those summer days back in Tirunelveli,my home town. By the end of March , school will be almost over and we friends will get to play indoor games in the day and Moms will be busy making vadams and pickles for the rest of the year. Mom will be generous with lemonade and neer mor ( thin  buttermilk). Tender coconut water and nungu (palm fruit )  and tender cucumber are part of culture here during  these peak summer days. And the evenings are always fun playing out even after it turns dark. I guess we were a team of 15 + kids making as much noise as we could making elders feel like sending us to school again if possible.By the mid of may , breeze will start again , when the monsoon sets in Kerala . Since my place is so close to the Kerala Tamil Nadu border, we get to enjoy a beautiful weather that time with a lovely breeze & some occasional rain. Last week of may will be busy buying text books and notebooks for the academic year and wrapping them with brown covers, labeling them with our names.There is so much to write and share but saving them for later.

Tirunelveli's pride is halwa. But along with that I would add this Nannari Sherbet also. During summer days , people consume this like anything as Nannari('Sarasaparilla') is well known for it's ayurvedic and medicinal properties and is also a natural body coolant. You can find this in street side stalls, small eateries and other restaurants.

Now coming to our recipe , Jigar in Urdu means liver and thanda means cool . Jil is the term that refers to cool in tamil.Early muslims / Mughals who settled in and around Madurai made this a part of their culture , as they felt intense heat during summer days  and  used Almond resins ( Badam Gond ) and Nannari syrup to keep the body cool naturally. Madurai, the city famous for it's Meenakshi temple and Jasmine flowers added this Jigirthanda to it's fame list later.But now , this Jil Jil Jigirthanda is famous all across  TN.
 Now , this picture tell you how I enjoyed mine !

The main ingredient Badam Resin / badam gond is kind of milk that settles on the barks of the tree that gets dried up later. This is a natural body coolant and completely edible . When you soak these pearls , the form a natural jelly.You can pick this up from departmental stores and ayurvedic shops / naatu marunthu kadai.


Whole milk .................................. .................6 cups/ 1.5 lr
Nannari Syrup (Sarasaparilla Syrup ) ............... 4 tsp * refer notes
Badam Gond / Badam Pisin / Almond Resin ........ 1 tbsp *refer notes
Vanilla Ice cream .............................................. few scoops
Sugar ............................................................. 3 to 4 tsp, optional ( I didn't add)
Almonds ..................................................... few , chopped for Garnish


  • Check the badam gond for any left over brown parts and remove them. Soak in a cup of water for 4 to 6 hrs / over night.
  • This badam gond would have bloomed to a cup full of jelly .
  • Take a heavy bottom pan and add the milk and cook in slow flame , stirring every now and then.
  • Scrape down the maalai / pal edu that forms on the top into the milk again .
  • Repeat the same until you find the milk is reduced to 3 cups. Add sugar at this stage and cook for a while in case you want to add them.
  • Let the reduced milk come to room temperature , then refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hrs.
  • Now to assemble , take a tall glass , add a table spoon of badam jelly to the bottom.
  • Add a few drops of nannari syrup and fill with 1/2 a cup of chill reduced milk with a bit of malai / edu. 
  • Top it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle some nannari syrup.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts.


You can find these badam gond and nannari syrup easily  in naatu marundhu kadai /  Ayurvedic stores.
You can substitute with agar agar , if you can't find badam gond.
Also you can substitute nannari syrup with rose syrup too.
I recommend none other than vanilla flavored ice cream for this drink.


  1. I love Jigarthanda. I had the opportunity to witness the Jigarthanda in the making at Maduria Shop. This looks so tempting and love the clicks. Awesome!

    1. Thanks Jyothi. This always takes me there dear.

  2. I've never had jigarthanda actually. But I've been seeing this lovely drink on many blogs this spring. Guess I need to give it a try. Do you find the syrup in Indian grocery stores here?

    1. Anjana , this is an absolute coolant naturally. I have tons of memories. I will send you the deatils.


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