The traditional four-day-festival Pongal, marks the arrival of the harvest season. The word 'pongal' derives its name from the Tamil word 'ponga' which means 'to boil' or 'overflow'. It signifies the overflowing harvest of the season. Just like any other festival, Pongal has its own sets of traditional recipes dominated by the South Indian flavours. They offer Sun God dishes made with rice and jaggery, and prepare many other delicacies to observe the harvest festival. If you have never been a part of Pongal celebrations, here are the dishes that you have been missing and can try at home.
1. Sakkarai Pongal
Sweet pongal is an integral part of the Pongal Thirunaal menu. Dry roast 50g green gram in a thick bottomed pan and add in 100g raw rice. Wash the rice and green gram mixture, add water and bring it to boil. In another pan, add 100g grated jaggery and water and heat till the jaggery melts to form a syrup. Once the dal and rice mixture cooks thoroughly, add the jaggery syrup to it. Combine well the ingredients and mash with a spoon. Heat ghee in another pan and lightly roast some raisins and cashew nuts and then add it to the prepared mixture. Next, add a pinch of cardamom powder and edible camphor and cook the mix for a short while over low flame. Serve hot. Latest Pookalam Designs for Pongal 2020: Simple Flower Rangoli Patterns and Kolam Designs to Decorate Your House During the Festive Season (Watch Videos)
2. Ven or Khara Pongal
Ven pongal is a light, savoury dish cooked with spices to give a burst of flavours. Add 100g ghee, a cup of rice and half a cup of yellow moong dal in a pressure cooker and fry the ingredients for two to three minutes. Add in salt and water and pressure cook until three whistles. Next heat oil in a pan and ghee, cashew nuts, cumin seeds, black pepper, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for a minute and pour the tadka over the cooked rice and dal mixture. Serve hot with sambhar and chutney. 6 Mouth-Watering Delicacies of The Tamil Harvest Festival And How You Can Make Them
Vada with chutney has always been a hit in South Indian cuisine, but it becomes even more special when served with other Pongal preparations. Soak a cup of husked black gram, drain and grind to a smooth paste. Add a pinch of salt, asafoetida and black pepper and beat well to make the batter light and fluffy. Add in chopped coriander leaves, ginger and green chillis. Shape the dal mixture into flat rounds and make a hole in the centre. Heat oil in a pan, add the batter with a ladle and fry over high heat. Lower the temperature once the vadas are fried and cooked. Drain the oil from the vadas in absorbent paper and serve with coconut chutney. Simple Rangoli Designs for Makar Sankranti 2020: Quick and Beautiful Rangoli Patterns to Celebrate the Harvest Festival (Watch Videos)
4. Bisi Bele Bath
Bisi bele bath is one of the most comforting dishes you will ever eat. Cook equal portions of rice and tur dal and keep it aside. Now soak one tamarind in hot water and extract the tamarind water. Boil half cup of chopped vegetables of your choice and then heat oil in a pan. Add four tablespoon chana dal, two tablespoon urad dal, two teaspoon cumin powder and a pinch of fenugreek, pepper and chilli powder each. Now fry some curry leaves and grind the leaves with coconut. Next, boil the tamarind water and add turmeric powder, salt and jaggery. Add the vegetables and the grounded mixture and let it simmer for few more minutes. Add the cooked tur dal and rice. Heat another pan and fry groundnut, urad dal, chana dal and mustard seeds. Add the fried mixture to the bisi bele bath, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
5. Paal Payasam
Paal payasam is a delicious and creamy Indian pudding with the richness of nuts and the goodness of milk. Wash and soak 50g rice for half an hour. Now cook the soaked rice in one litre of milk until soft. Add a tablespoon of cardamom powder and jaggery and stir until the jaggery dissolves. Heat ghee in a pan and fry some cashew nuts until they are slightly golden. Add a few raisins and sauté for a minute. Next, pour the rice mixture and serve warm.
If you want to try just another dish for Pongal, try your hands at cooking up the authentic lemon rice. Flavoured with curry leaves, mustard and lemon, it is indeed a treat like no other.