Today marks the second day of Pongal, a day dedicated to worshipping the Sun God popularly known as ‘Surya Pongal.’
Cooked in a new mud-pot called ‘Pongapani,’ a special dish with sugarcane sticks is offered to thank the Sun God for the abundant harvest.
This dish is ‘Sarkkarai Pongal.’
Ponga in Tamil means to ‘boil over.’ One of the most popular harvest festivals celebrated in South India, ‘Pongal’ derives its name from this very tradition of cooking the newly harvested rice until it overflows from an earthen pot.
Relished across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Sri Lanka, Pongal is cooked using various methods and ingredients.
The traditional Chakkara or Sakkarai Pongal, which is commonly offered as prasadam in temples and cooked in Tamil households, is made of rice, coconut and moong dal and sweetened with jaggery, to give it its quintessential brown colour.
Another variant, Venn Pongal, is made from clarified butter and is typically served as a special breakfast in South India and parts of Sri Lanka with sambar and coconut chutney.
Also, Melagu Pongal, a spicy variant, is made with pepper, rice and moong daal. Meanwhile, Puli Pongal, which usually isn’t associated with the festival, is made with tamarind and boiled rice and is often served for dinner.
But this Pongal, you can give this classic traditional dish your twist with some of these easy-to-make recipes:
Preparation time: ten mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Total time 40 mins
Varagu / Kodo Millet – 1 cup
Yellow Moong Dal / Pasi Paruppu – ¼ cup
Water – 2 cups
Cocoa Powder – ¼ cup
Jaggery – 2 cups
Milk – 1 cup + ½ cup
Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
Ghee – ¼ cup
Cashews – 10
Raisins – 3 tblsp
Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pressure cooker, add moong dal and roast for 1 min. Add it to the Kodo millet and mix well. Add water, and 1 cup milk and pressure cook it at least for two whistles, simmer for five mins and turn off the heat. Let the steam go all by itself.
Now take the content in a nonstick pan, add in ½ cup milk, jaggery, cocoa powder and mix well. Keep mixing until it thickens.
Now add ghee little by little and mix well.
Heat some ghee in a pan, fry cashews and raisins till golden and add it to the Pongal.
Add cardamom powder and mix well.
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Brown Rice Pongal
For all you healthy people out there, who are vying for healthier variants of the classic dish. This is just the dish for you!
Soaking time: 30 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup yellow moong dal (split yellow gram)
1/2 tsp roasted and crushed cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns (kalimirch)
1/8 tsp salt
Two tsp oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (Hing)
Four curry leaves (kadi patta)
Two whole dry Kashmiri red chillies, broken into pieces
One tsp finely chopped ginger (adrak)
Clean, wash the brown rice and moong dal using a strainer and drain well.
Spread the brown rice on a dry muslin cloth and allow it to completely dry for 30 minutes.
Heat a deep non-stick pan, add the brown rice and moong dal and dry roast on a medium flame for 7 to 8 minutes.
Combine the rice- moong dal mixture, crushed cumin seeds, peppercorns, 3¼ cups of water and salt, mix well and pressure cook for five whistles.
Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
Mash it well using a spatula. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds.
When the seeds crackle, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chillies and ginger and sauté on medium flame for 1 minute.
Add this tempering over the cooke+d Pongal and mix well
Cook a cup of rice and half a cup of moong daal with a few strands of saffron in a pressure cooker till soft.
Mash two bananas and add a cup of condensed milk to it.
Add the rice mixture and stir it in well.
Add nuts, raisins and cardamom and nutmeg powder.
Serve hot with cubes of jaggery on the side.