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Saturday, August 23, 2014

'lassi' and masala milk - selling hot - shops at Zambazaar.

As I drove through the congested Zambazaar, there were traffic bottlenecks – due to various reasons … as I had written earlier, one has to heap praises on MTC bus driver (Route No.13 T Nagar to Triplicane) – as the bus wades through the marketplace………. Nearer Zambazaar PS, one can often see people lined in front of two shops (adjacent to each other – selling same products – both doing brisk business)

 It is time the City is celebrating 375 years of existence. Chennai aka Madras was founded on August 22, 1639- some voluntary Organisations have been organising celebrations of “Madras Week”  from Sunday by dedicating seven days to the history, culture and traditions of the city. From the purchase of small village, the colonial rule spread more acquisitioning other areas in the vicinity. Even before that existed many places…….. Thiruvallikkeni (anglicised Triplicane) existed along the coast centuries earlier, with epigraph evidence dating back to Pallava kingdom and earlier.   It has many places of importance including the famous Marina beach.

In detailing Madras 375, many have been writing about ‘famous food shops’ of Chennai.  Not necessarily big restaurants & hotels; there are smaller ones, Mess, street food and more….and this post is about such road side shops offering a blend of ‘hot and cold’ milk product.  Zam Bazaar houses hundreds of shops – this is a wholesale market for bananas – there are shops that deal in betel leaves,  vegetables, meat, fish, rice, oil, flowers, garlands and herbal leaves.   The actual Zambazaar market is very old and lives shackled existence.   A part of this was destroyed giving way to building complex. 

People with grey hairs will remember those pursuit of milk in the morning – their chase for coffee, especially on days when Aavin van was late due to a breakdown or otherwise.  Slowly, Aavin was pushing out the bovine population as people made the habit of making a beeline infront of aavin booth [remember those were days when families had no refrigerators] -   Milk was scarce and not easily available. Procuring a monthly Aavin card was not so easy; procedurally very cumbersome; more so, when one had to buy bulk quantity for marriages and the like. 

Then some shops mushroomed selling hot masala milk made in huge flat vessels – the piping hot milk added with badam flavour with malai (cream of milk) topping……. bachelors of Triplicane slowly made it a habit to close  their day taking this hot masala milk. – will hot and cold co-exist ?

Lassi – may not be very South Indian, though we are all so fond of buttermilk.  Lassi is a blend of yoghurt, spices and more. The sugared variety as also the salted one is a hit ……lassi is traditionally served chill – the creamy frothing milk based drink with topping of malai and sugar floating on it is a hit in most ‘cool drink’ juice selling shops.

There are two shops in Zambazaar (adjacent to each other) are famous for lassi …. Throughout the day (be it morning or close to night) one can see scores of people ordering  lassi as also rosemilk  – in hot Summer, people quenching their thirst with lassi is understandable, but they sell well in winter too. ~ and the same shops sell hot milk with some sweets being sold too.

I have been a fan of these shops and here are a couple of photos taken – the owner Mr Boopathy (owner of one of the shops), reportedly has been in business for nearly 5 decades is also seen.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Aug 2014.

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