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Desi version of porridge sold like hot cakes

Syed Muthahar Saqaf
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Kamman koozh and kezhvaragu koozh keep the body cool

tackling the heat:With the mercury level on the rise, sale of thirst-quenching natural drinks such as ‘kamman koozh' has picked up in parts of the city.— Photo:M.Srinath.
tackling the heat:With the mercury level on the rise, sale of thirst-quenching natural drinks such as ‘kamman koozh' has picked up in parts of the city.— Photo:M.Srinath.

With the sun showing no mercy this summer, tasty and delicious palmyra fruits (nongu), tender coconuts, watermelon, jigar thanda and fresh fruit juice, are in good demand.

‘Kamman koozh ‘(pearl millet porridge) and ‘kezhvaragu koozh' (ragi porridge), both traditional drinks of the villages, have been sought after this summer as they are believed to keep the body cool.

Millets, one of the oldest grains to be consumed, are healthy and non-acidic after consumption. In south India it is taken as porridge or as pancakes (adai and dosa). Pearl millet is a highly nutritious and a gluten free grain, that is full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Mini temporary stalls selling kamman koozh and kezhvaragu koozh, set up by villagers, have come up in the nook and corner of the city. A glass of kamman koozh keeps the body energetic and cool for a couple of hours.

Saravanan, a villager from Madurai, who has set up a makeshift stall at the busy Chathiram bus stand, has to work overtime this summer. Customers prefer kamman koozh to kezhvaragu for beating the heat and regaining energy.

It takes about an hour for him to prepare the koozh , using about five to six kg of pearl millet and ragi. However, the preparation commences the previous evening itself. The pearl millet and ragi mixed with water should be kept in traditional mud pots overnight, ensuring its delicious flavour gained through the porous effect of the mud pot.

Mr. Saravanan says that mouth-watering side dishes like pickles made of beans, fried appalam, chillies, besides mango, never fail to attract more customers. A glass of kamman koozh and kezhvaragu koozh is sold for Rs. 10 and his stall functions from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The business proves to be a good source of revenue to villagers as is the case with Mr.Saravanan whose stall attracts over 100 customers a day. It is a common sight to see scores of villagers transporting the koozh by bicycles to the city much ahead of the break of dawn. A large number of stalls could be spotted at all the busy areas and street corners like Gandhi market, Chathiram bus stand, Palakkarai, Cantonment, central bus stand, Tennur, Subramaniapuram, Woraiyur.

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