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Come, Let Us Taste Thirunelveli Halwa

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by jayasala42, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    அல்வா சாப்பிடலாம் வாங்க , இது திருநெல்வேலி அல்வா!!!

    The Wikipedia has given the pride of place to the “Halwa” over other Tirunelveli cusine,

    It will be news to many that the mouth watering delicacy is a gift to Tirunelveli from Rajasthan.

    If you are on a visit to Tirunelveli you may not like to miss a visit to the famous Irruttukadai which is open for business just after sun set, at six P.M and draw their age old wooden shutters in another two hours. In the day’s of stiff business competition where digital banners and neon signs are part of publicity strategy, the Iruttukadai, does not have any sign board of their own; the darkened walls of the out let closed with age old wooden planks, in the busy market area during the business hours is publicity enough to the inquisitive, curious eyes.

    The shop was established by Krishna Singh the fifth generation Rajput, five decades ago. The present owner deserves appreciation for maintaining the serenity of tradition and even today makes it a point to sell his ware, much in demand, under 40 Watts dull light.

    He is not bothered about the nice frills of pomp and shows as his Halwa’s demand always out weigh his stock and he is the proud claimant to a patient crowd which showed unfailing loyalty.

    Mr. Singh is a grateful man and it finds expression when he acknowledges the perennial river Tambiraparani for the unique taste.

    Even the presiding deity sitting opposite, Shri Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi, have to wait in patience for His devotees, indulging themselves in the dungeon opposite his sprawling temple.

    The Halwa transcends not only the city area and travel to far of Chennai; it even has admirers across the Oceans.

    If your itinerary does not suit the Iruttukadai schedule, you are in for trouble. Though Halwa shops have grown like mushroom in the city it requires the genius of the man from the Bakers Street to locate a good quality shop. I would recommend the Lakshmi Vilas on the corner to the way to the Junction Railway Station or the Shanti Sweets (Original) in the Corporation complex outside the city bus station.

    Now I will let you into a well guarded secret to lay your hands onto a really fascinating Halwa, which I am sure you have never tasted. The Iruttukadi special, for all its clamour, is, dark, sticky and solid one, very hard on your palate.

    If you travel about 50 Kms towards the west you arrive at Tenkasi, which entreats you to the caress of cool breeze, accompanied by a light drizzle, totally in contrast to the hot and humid Tirunelveli. The town is at the foot hills of the Western Ghats and the tall majestic mountains encompass it from all the three sides. It is the gateway to Kerala, transverse through acres and acres of sky high teak wood and rubber plantations.

    The presiding deity Kasiviswanathar, (southern abode of Varanasi) is priding himself for the crown of His temple, a tower which is as tall and elegant as the West Tower of Meenakshi, his consort in Madurai.

    For a man, who is to be introduced to the best Halwa ever made on earth ,the temple and its Lords are least in his mind.

    When you pass through the “Kal Mandapam opposite, in a small corner, if you see a surging crowd, before a 5’x5’ small Mandapam you have at last arrived.

    It was brought into being in 1904, by the name sake, Krishna Singh, of the Iruttukadai fame. Here it is a sight to be seen that people forgetting their age and sex stretch their hands for their share of 50 gms of “Alwa” spread over bits of banana leaves. When they devoured it, again hands go up for the handful savory, a compliment from the Management. The owner is a smart and wise man and unlike his cousin in Tirunelveli has the shop going for a full twelve hours, 10 AM to 10 PM to cater to the nearby Spa of the South, Courtallam ; the alwa, in contrast to its iruttukadai cousin is slightly brownish and very smooth and it slides down your throat smoothly, The carry home requirements are also neatly couched in banana leaves and when you unpack it the next day the burnt leaves, leave an intoxicating flavor to your precious Halwa.

    At Courtallam many people empty a quarter bottle of herbal oil, soaking them from head to toe; to enhance the bliss of getting drenched by the pure elixir cascading from a couple of hundred feet also upload another quarter hard liquor. They are ignorant and know not what they are doing.

    There is an easy and pleasant way to experience an out of the world experience. You simply gobble down a mouthful of Halwa before you venture into the silver streak; and another mouthful of hot Halwa, when you are still wet from the piercing rain drops, make it an ecstatic experience.

    An embittered sun, unsure of what is going on, peeps through the clouds from time to time with his dull eyes. You are totally oblivious of the world except for the distant roar of the waterfall ringing in your ears.

    The grand mothers in Ttirunelveli consider the sticky sweet as an all weather panacea for stomach related ailments.

    The Halwa and a string of Jasmine make a lethal combination to bring around estranged wives.

    A word of caution from men: It is always wise to discourage the wily, scheming and cunning spouse desirous of trying her hand in halwa making. Who knows when you would regain your speech?
    jayasala 42
     
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  2. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    I love Tirunelveli halwa. I have tasted it and it’s so yummy. One of my friend bought it from Tirunelveli. It was too good
     
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  3. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Tirunelveli haLWA CANNOT BE REPLICATED ELSEWHERE WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE FLAVOUR. The sedret of its flavour lies in the Tamraparni river water used to prepare it. Same is the case with Kanchipuram Idli. No authentic Kanchipuram Idli is has been produced outside Kanchipuram because the flavour comes from the local water. as any resident of the town will tell you.Ask any Kulcha maker from Amritsar to replicate it elsewhere , they would refuse. Water quality plays a major role in the authentic taste of such dishes.
     
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Absolutely mouth watering reading of black & brown varieties of halwa with burnt leaf aroma in cool and hot weather in day and night.
    2. Super tasty narration with helpings of Bhakthi mentioning kasiviswa & His consort Kandimathi.
    3. I enjoyed reading.
    Thanks and regards.
    God & Godess are felt in taste.
     
  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Smt. Jayasala:

    I really enjoyed your sense of humor especially in the last paragraph. I was able to relate to the entire trip as I had been there as a child.

    But Halwa brings some interesting memories in my mind. My father is a simple man with a principle that no taste should be developed for any specific delicacies and eating should be strictly for energizing the body. He taught that to us from young age but neither my brother nor me followed his principles. He made fun of me eating so much during Deepavali and suffering with stomach ache.

    However, I heard this story from my uncle (father's older brother). When my father was young, he had a deep desire to taste Halwa but didn't have enough cash to buy Halwa in his young age. My grandfather being the Principal of Guindy Engineering College had so many students staying in his quarters and studying engineering. My father gets very little cash to spend for himself. With great difficulty he saved enough to buy good quantity of Halwa and finally on the D Day he bought it. But when he put it in his mouth with an intent to taste the delicious Halwa, it slipped through his mouth and he gulped before he could taste it. He was so disappointed and ended up crying. May be this incident made him what he was later.
     
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  6. periamma

    periamma IL Hall of Fame

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    100.gms hotHalwa in a small piece of plantain leaf is as tasty as Amirtham and some pakoda or mixture is given free.
     
    Venkat20 likes this.

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