Chakkara pongal

Background:

Chakkara pongal is a delicacy made specially on the occasion of the Harvest festival in Tamil Nadu in India. This festival celebrates a good harvest and offers thanks to the Sun God (Surya) and the animals (Cows, Buffaloes) that was reason for the bountiful harvest. Traditionally the pongal is made in an earthern pot over an open fire. Some families use a bronze pot. This pongal I used my vengala paanai (bronze pot).

Wash and clean the pot. Apply Sandal and Kumkum to four sides and tie a turmeric plant around the neck of the pot.

Stuff you will need:

2 cups white rice
3/4 cups moong dhal roasted in ghee
Milk 3 cups
Water 5 – 7 cups
Powdered jaggery – 4 cups
Ghee – 4 tbsps
Cashews – 20 roasted in ghee
Raisins – 20 roasted in ghee
Cardomom – 10 peeled and powdered

How to make it?

Boil the mixture of water and milk in the pot. As it rises add the rice and moong dhal. Stir occasionally till well cooked. Add jaggery and stir frequently till it thickens into a nice golden mass. Add ghee and mix it in. Garnish with roasted cashews, raisins and cardomom.

Serves six

Special Notes:

This is usually served with a seven vegetable hot and sweet savoury stew called the Ezhu Kari Kootu. Recipe elsewhere in this blog.

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Pongal chutney – foggy mornings and steaming food.

Background:

Pongal chutney brings images of warmth in me. Always. Pongal being typically associated with Margazhi visually conjures up foggy mornings and the warm pongal sliding down my throat. The chillies in the chutney and the black pepper in the pongal warming my insides and the contented feeling of a full stomach.

Stuff you will need:

1 cup white rice
1/2 cup moong dhal
Salt to taste
Black pepper – 2 tsp broken
Cumin seeds/Jeera – 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 2 twigs
Cashews – 10 broken in half and roasted in ghee
Ghee – 2 tbsps
Ginger 1 inch cube – shredded

How to make it?

Pressure cook rice and dhal together with salt to taste with 5 cups of water. Heat ghee in a small tempering vessel. Add cumin seeds. As it browns add black pepper, curry leaves and ginger. Set aside. When the rice dhal mixture is done, add the seasoning and the roasted cashews. Using a flat ladle mix it all well. The resulting texture should be a soft mashed pongal with the smell of ghee emanating.

Serves two

Special Notes:

Pongal is usually served with coconut chutney. A handful of grated coconut, a handful of pottu kadalai, 2-3 green chillies and salt to taste. Grind it all up to make a smooth paste, season with mustard and urad dhal and its done!