Jigarthanda is available in Dubai.
Yes you heard it right.
For those who are not familiar with Jigarthanda, which translates to 'Cool Heart', it is a drink very similar to Falooda, but those in Tamil Nadu, especially from the state’s cultural capital Madurai, it is a term they are not only familiar with, but also very fond of.
The cold beverage is so associated with Madurai, that a movie that revolving around the city has been named Jigarthanda. This extremely popular drink in the temple city is now available in Dubai, thanks to 'Famous Jigarthanda', who operates at Lulu Hypermarket at Lulu Village in Muhaisnah for the past two years, and now has opened a new branch in Karama.
Tracing Jigarthanda’s history, the drink was brought to the land by the Moghul’s to keep their hearts cool. However, there are many theories that trace the route that enabled it to find its way to the southern part of India. The popular belief is that Jigarthanda drink became famous when the City was ruled by the Sultan/Nayaks of Vijayanagara Empire.
The ingredients are rich and simple. It has malai (cream), Sarsaparila Root syrup, sugar, almond gum and ice cream, which is specially prepared for the drink. All this comes at an affordable price of Dh8.
“We source most of the ingredients from India. The taste is 90 per cent the same and the difference is due to the water and milk available,” said Ajmal Khadar, whose uncle started the 'Famous Jigarthanda' store in Madurai some 40 years ago.
Khader’s family has also been involved with a restaurant business for several decades. Though there is a confusion that China Grass is part of the recipe, Khader clarifies that it is only almond gum and not China Grass. Khader says the recipe is handed down through the generations. “We have made minor modifications to suit the needs of customers here in Dubai,” says Alfia Fathima, Khader’s wife and who runs the show in Dubai.
Jigarthanda is also available in some popular Indian eateries in Abu Dhabi.
“We are planning to expand and add more shops over the next few months,” Khader says standing in front of a board that talks about the highlights of the beverage, which is mainly used as a celebratory drink in weddings, and its health benefits.
With the approaching summer there is another option to stay cool.