Paruthi Paal refers to cottonseed milk. Its a mix (like horlicks or bournvita) which you can add to milk and consume. Its considered a very healthy drink.
I never knew about paruthi paal before. Frankly the thought of cottonseed milk is a bit disconcerting. Particularly when Paruthi Kottai (cotton seed) has always been seen as livestock feed. When I first heard of it, I was like, can humans even eat this.
But I have grown to really appreciate this drink and I even have some packets of the mix at home. My daughter adores it. She sometimes prefers it over her usual milk drink.
Though I got familiar with the drink, I never realized this was a Trichy special. Untill I heard an adorable PA announcement next to a cycle vendor who was selling Paruthi Paal for 5 bucks. The announcement translates to something like this,
Trichy Paruthi Paal, made from pure palm jaggery and cotton seeds direct from the villages. Only at 5 rupees, you will wonder how we can afford to give it to you so cheap.
Just like Rockfort temple (a famous landmark in Trichy) symbolizes the spirit of Trichy, so too does Paruthi Paal.
Just like Jigar Thanda is for Madurai, so too is Paruthi Paal for Trichy.
The announcement had my heart. A city which wants to define itself with its food. What more do I want.