Thursday, January 14, 2010
Happy Pongal 2010!
Wishing a very Happy Pongal to everyone! or Makar Sankranthi / Lori depending on which part of the country you come from.
This was our meal this morning - Sakkarai pongal (Gur sweetened rice), Vadai (lentil fritters), Kadambam Sambar (Sambar with 5 vegetables), Ven Pongal (Lentil and rice lightly seasoned with ginger, pepper and cumin seeds) and coconut chutney. It was probably the coldest Pongal I have celebrated and we did full justice to the hearty meal. Managed to get sugarcane as well as fresh turmeric and banana leaves to have our meal on and that made it all so much nicer.
My four year old seems to have caught on to the fact that festivals in India involve food and dressing up - so she promptly asked for her pavadai chattai (traditional Tamil dress). I brought out a Navvari instead - a traditional Maharashtrian sari which a dear friend recently gifted - and she wore that bright green sari over all her layers of sweaters and tights - a sight indeed!!
The boiling over of the new rice while making pongal signifies prosperity and happiness in our lives. Both are simple dishes and use green gram split lentils along with rice cooked together and then finished with a lovely tempering. The ven pongal tempering has cumin seeds, crushed black pepper and cashews.
The sambar is a special one because the flavours of all the vegetables give it a unique taste - quite different from the one we make on a daily basis. I used radish, pumpkin, broad beans, drumstick and okra. Went perfectly with the ven pongal and the vadais.
The sakkarai pongal has gur/vellam (jaggery) added to the cooked rice and lentils and then cooked down till it comes to a nice thick consistency to which cashews and raisins are toasted in ghee and then added. Some people add a pinch of cooking camphor (karpooram) but we both don't like it, so I just omit that.
Do email me if you would like any of the recipes - I would be glad to share them.
Wishing all my readers a lovely year ahead - may your cup of happiness brim over!