Drinking ‘koozh’ helps beat summer heat

Chennai: ‘Aadi kaatril ammaiyum parandhu pogum.’ The above is a maxim that is regularly used is all Tamil households and is an oft-misquoted proverb. Most of us misunderstand ammaiyaum (chicken pox) as ammiyum (grinding stone). Getting back to the point, it rougly translates to, “Even chicken pox will be cured by the winds that blow throughout the month of Aadi.”

So what does it mean? It signifies the beginning of autumn and end of scorching summer. Chicken pox is a common illness that disseminates quickly when the temperature is high, as the weather gradually cools down, it is said that the month of Aadi cures even the chicken pox.

While it is much known for its festive happenings and much hailed for the maxim quoted, something that can be seen in many of the lanes is the presence of porridge pots. Yes, it is omnipresent. Throughout summer, there were a lot of people distributing koozh, as we call it in local parlance, to beat the summer heat and provide nutrition to withstand till the end of the day.

Predominantly, Tamilians prepare the kanji with raagi that helps oneself rejuvenate as scorching summer drains the physiology to the extreme possible level. Loaded with abundant nutrients, the cereal is something that is still battling with the much-loved pizza and burger.

In a study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information, researcher stated, “It has higher dietary fiber, minerals, and sulfur containing amino acids compared to white rice, the current major staple in India. Despite finger millet’s rich nutrient profile, recent studies indicate lower consumption of millets in general by urban Indians.”

Hailed as the wonder grain, ragi is rich in calcium and is the only non-diary product that supplies this nutrient. Most often we feel full if we eat food made of this cereal as it has low glycemic index which controls cravings, controlling hypertension and diabetes. It is also a natural source of iron and helps improve the blood levels, preventing anemia.
Although it is not customary to make porridge only in the month of Aadi, due to the religious observances, it is widely made and distribited across the city. After all why do you need to choose an auspicious day or time to start a good food habit?

NT Bureau