A harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God, Pongal is celebrated with full fanfare in Tamil Nadu. The four-day festival is observed in the month of Thai, which falls in the second week of January. The day also marks the culmination of the sun’s six-month-long journey northwards. Thanking the almighty after a good harvest, people show their gratitude for the bountiful produce by boiling the first rice of the season and dedicating it to the Surya Maangalyam.
Like every festivity, Pongal is incomplete without food. People prepare a sweetened dish using rice, jaggery and lentils as part of the customary celebration on this day. Many other sweet and savoury delicacies are added to the list during family gatherings. Wondering what special dishes you could prepare for your loved ones this year?
Here are some recipes that will delight your guests.
By JW Marriott, Mumbai
¼ cup – Carrots
¼ cup – Potatoes
¼ cup – Green beans
¼ cup – Eggplant
¼ cup- Yam
¼ cup – Pumpkin
2 – Drum sticks
1 – Raw banana
1 tbsp – Tamarind pulp
½ cup – Fresh grated coconut
1 stick – Curry leaves
1 tsp – Mustard seeds
To taste – Salt
2 tbsp – Coconut oil
To taste – Turmeric Powder
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
2 – Green chilies
* Mix grated coconut, green chilli, cumin seeds and turmeric powder and blend to make a smooth paste.
* Boil all the vegetables.
* In a pan, heat coconut oil, and add mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add curry leaves.
* Add vegetables, sauté and add coconut paste to it.
* Add salt to taste and mix well. Cover the pan and cook the vegetables on slow heat for 10 minutes.
* Serve hot.
Almond and Amarnath Laddoos
By Chef Manish Mehrotra
50g – Popped amaranth seeds
50ml – Jaggery (melted)
30g – Almond slivers (unpeeled)
* Add popped amaranth seeds, almond slivers and melted jaggery in a bowl.
* Mix well.
* Make small firm balls from the mixture.
Grilled Almond Barfi
By Chef Kunal Kapur
500g – Khoya (pindi)
40g – Sugar free crystals
1 cup – Almonds (roasted and crushed)
* Grate the khoya and keep aside.
* Heat a pan and add khoya, now add 40g sugar free crystals and cook on low heat for three to four minutes.
* Remove from heat and mix it in the roasted and crushed almonds.
* Immediately transfer to the individual serving dish.
* Sprinkle the remaining sugar free on top. Place the dish in a hot oven with heat only from the top and allow the sugar to caramelize.
* Remove and serve immediately.
Peach and Coconut Pudding
400g – Peach halves (coarsely chopped)
1/2 cup – Peach syrup
1/4 cup – Dry coconut powder
2 – Eggs
100ml – Coconut milk
200g – Flour
1 tsp – Baking powder
1/2 tsp – Baking soda
60g – Butter
125g – Caster sugar
* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the ovenproof square dish of 8×8 square tin.
* In a bowl, combine flour, soda, baking powder, sugar and coconut. Mix well.
* In another bowl, combine butter, eggs and coconut milk.
* Add chopped peaches and egg mixture to a dry mix and stir to combine well. Pour the batter into the greased tin. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and skewer comes out clean.
* Once baked, poke the pudding cake and pour the reserved syrup into it, allow it to rest for few minutes. Cut in pieces and serve warm with ice-cream or whipped cream.
1/2 cup – Moong dal
3/4 cup – Rice
3 cups – Water
3 tbsp – Ghee
12 pieces – Cashew
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp – Mustard seeds
1 tbs – Black peppercorns
5-6 – Curry leaves
1 tsp – Finely chopped green chillies (optional)
1 tsp – Ginger (finely chopped)
To taste – Salt
* Dry roast yellow moong dal, rice over medium heat until dal turns aromatic and rice is pale white.
* Remove from the pan and add it to a pressure cooker with three cups of water and a tablespoon of ghee.
* Cook for three to four whistles until soft. Allow the pressure to get released by itself. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering for it.
* For the tempering: Heat a small saucepan with remaining two tablespoons of ghee. Add the cashew pieces and roast until golden and remove.
* Next add the mustard, cumin, peppercorns, chopped green chillies, chopped ginger, curry leaves and fry until seeds pop and the rest turn fragrant.
* Stir the prepared tempering and roasted cashews with the cooked rice and dal.
* Add enough salt to it. Mix well and serve hot.
* The delicious and comforting recipe is ready to enjoy.
150g – Jaggery
150g – Raw rice
50g – Split moong dal
10 – Cashews
1/2 tsp – Cardamom powder
2 tbsp – Ghee
10 – Raisins
* Pressure cook rice and dal with required water for two whistles.
* Pour half cup of water, heat it and add jaggery to it.
* Now, add the cooked and mashed rice and dal mixture.
* Add cardamom powder and mix well.
* In another pan, pour ghee, heat it and fry cashews and raisins.
* Add the fried cashews and raisins to the dal and rice mix and stir well.
* Heat for a couple of minutes.
* Remove from heat and serve hot.
Barnyard Millet Idly
1/2 cup – Barnyard millet
3/4 cup – Urad dal
* Wash and soak the barnyard millet and urad dal separately for six to eight hours.
* Grind to a semi-coarse batter and let it ferment overnight or for four to five hours.
* Add salt and a pinch of baking soda (optional) and pour it into idly moulds.
* Steam for 15-20 minutes.
* Serve it hot with a generous dollop of ghee and chutney.
So, what would you like to cook for your family and friends this Pongal?