Jigarthanda is a popular Summer street food from Madurai. Believed to have its roots inspired by the Mughal cuisine during their reign in South, it was predominantly consumed during their wedding ceremonies. The principal ingredient being Almond gum/ Badam Pisin (resin from the almond tree) and sweetened reduced milk ( Basundi) was offered to newly weds for its aphrodisiac properties and calming and cooling effects. Occasionally, Almond gum is replaced by agar-agar or china grass.
Jigarthanda literally means Jigar- Courageous Heart and thanda(danda) implies staff or a scepter but in this context is Cool or Cold-hearted and it can easily pass as a sister counterpart to the North Indian Falooda. Apparently, this recipe is also mentioned in Ain-i-Akbari and gives us a probable conclusion that the recipe originated from the Mughals. You can read more here and here.
Needless to say that Jigarthanda is the most sought after street food not only in the Temple city of South India, but also in other parts of the world. Authentic version of this dessert can be sourced from the outlet named Famous Jigarthanda, run by one Mr Sheikh Meeran. The key ingredients for this recipe can be easily sourced from a Naatu Marundhu Kadai anglicized as Country Medical shop that sells products for home remedies. Sarasaparilla Root Syrup (Nannaari) and a dollop of ice cream (Vanilla or Milk flavoured) topped up with almond slivers increases the Oomph factor of this South Indian Sundae. Some also add dried Rose petals, Rose water or syrup (Rooh Afza) to infuse subtle flavour changes. Here is a link to Classic homemade Vanilla Ice cream. Alternately, you could also use store bought.
Consuming Jigarthanda on hot days can be beneficial in naturally bringing down the internal body heat and hence qualifies to be not only fancy but also healthy. The preparation is time consuming but thoroughly enjoyable. You will for sure receive a standing ovation from family and friends. The pictures are from my maiden attempt of making it during my last visit to India and I made sure to serve it in transparent disposable glasses similar to the push cart and stall vendors. So, for those who reside in India, just locate a shop in your neighborhood and for those who live abroad, remember to buy Almond resin, dried rose petals and Nannaari syrup during your next visit. Oh! I forgot... also note that a Tamil movie titled Jigarthanda was released a few years back. Value addition eh!!😉😉😉😉😉.
Enough said... now lets beat the heat and make some Jil Jil Jigarthanda.
Preparation time: 15 min + 45 min
Freezing and Chilling time: 4 hrs
Assembling time : 2 min per serving
Category : Street food/ Dessert
Cuisine: South Indian/ Madurai Special
Spice level: Sweet
Difficulty level: Medium
Source : Adapted from Chitra's Food Book
Serves: 8 -10
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 10 g||15 %|
|Saturated Fat 5 g||24 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 18 mg||6 %|
|Sodium 96 mg||4 %|
|Potassium 141 mg||4 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 50 g||17 %|
|Dietary Fiber 0 g||1 %|
|Sugars 42 g|
|Protein 8 g||16 %|
|Vitamin A||12 %|
|Vitamin C||1 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
- 1 liter full cream milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Khoa ( crushed)
- fistful of edible dry rose petals
- 6 tbsp of Nannari syrup
- 6-8 scoops of Store bought or Homade Vanilla ice cream
- 1 tbsp Almond resin/ Badam Pisin
- 1 tbsp Rose water/ Rose syrup/ Rose milk essence
- 8-10 almonds slivered
- Soak Almond Resin/ Badam Pisin in a bowl of water. Let it sit overnight. The next morning you will find that it would have bloomed almost 10 times in volume. ( Refer pic)
- The picture above is a snapshot of the bloomed Almond Resin after soaking. I personally feel this is the star ingredient of the dessert contributing to maximum of the texture effect.
- Separate and discard any amber coloured resin sticking to it. Store in the refrigerator until use.
- Prepare the ice cream base the previous night itself. Just in case you missed the link, here is the method for Classic Homemade Vanilla Ice cream. Ensure to churn and break for a smooth texture.
- If you plan to serve this on a weekend, the I suggest you finish the cooking process on a Friday evening.
- This gives ample time for freezing, chilling and infusing flavours and you will be all set to enjoy the Dessert on a Saturday or Sunday.
- Boil full cream milk. Simmer and add sugar. At this point divide the mixture into two and collect one half in another container .
- Continue to cook both on low flame.
- Add crushed Khoa to one container and edible rose petals and rose water/ rose milk essence/ rose syrup to another.
- Continue to cook on very low flame until it reduces to 3/4th in volume. Turn the heat off and transfer to the kitchen top and let it cool naturally. Transfer to the refrigerator. Let it go chill.
- Now comes the most easiest step....the assembling part. Fill the serving glass with 1 plus tbsp of Almond gum/ Badam Pisin.
- Add 1-2 tbsp Sarasaparilla syrup/ Nannaari syrup followed by reduced milk upto 3/4th s of the glass. Mix well.
- Add a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and the mixture will raise up to the brim.
- Top up with more Nannaari and slivered almonds.
- For rose flavoured version add the rose flavoured reduced milk to the Badam pisin and continue topping up with ice cream and add more rose petals and syrup.
- Serve, enjoy and chill out this summer.