Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated by Tamilians at the end of the harvest season. It usually takes place for four days from Jan 13 to Jan 16 every year. The first day of the Tamil month which is actually second day of the festival is the Thai pongal, which is also celebrated as Makara Sankrathi all over the India. It is mainly celebrated to convey the appreciation and thankfulness to the “Sun God”. We do so as it is the primary energy behind agriculture and a good harvest. And also to thank every farmer! We thank sun for burning himself to save us!!!
On the day of pongal, at the time of sunrise, they usually boil milk in new clay pots and when the milk boils out of the vessel, people shout “pongalo pongal!!”. Exciting? ! Right? My Mom used to do it at my grandparents place when I was a kid 🙂 I still remember that, but coming to apartments we never got the chance to do so! The day preceding Pongal is called Bhogi when people discard old things and focus on new belongings. The day after pongal is called maatu pongal, where maatu means “cow”. In rural tamilnadu, there were adventurous games such as the Jallikattu, I am not sure if it is still happening. Kanu pidi is a tradition on the fourth day for the ladies and young girls to follow; we feed birds and pray for well-being of mom and brothers. Myself and my sis usually do that with my Mom 🙂 early morning in the terrace feasting all variety rice, sweet, fruits and we spread in a banana leaf and we will invite birds to have the food :)! Lav Sis, if you are reading this 😉 do you remember that 😀
Ven pongal is a very easy and comfort food. It is not just made on a pongal day as we usually make it on many weekends. But mainly weekends as it is little heavy and might make you sleepy. You can serve it with chutney to make it simple or with some brinjal or any sort of gotsu or sambhar. I used to struggle to get the right consistency. But now I know how to crack it and sharing it here.
Trouble shooting ideas and tips to make it right:
- Use equal quantities of raw rice and moong dal.
- Use three times of water to the total of raw rice and moong dal. For instance I used ¾ cup raw rice, ¾ cup moong dal and 4 ½ cups of water. If you add more water, it will be soggy. And less water will make it dry.
- Adding ghee to the mixture when you boil helps it not burnt.
- Soaking the moong dal and rice in water makes it smooth.
- Some roast the moong dal for extra flour. I would say it is not necessary.
- If the pongal is watery when you open, then keep it in stove open till the water evaporates.
- If the rice is not cooked well, it should cook perfect for the measurements I gave, if you change something and if you think the rice is not cooked well, add some ½ cup of water and give two more whistles.
- If you serve it later when it is not hot and thinks it is dry, add some water and a tsp of ghee, give a quick boil and serve.
- You can also add salt when it is boiling.
- On pongal day, we usually make ven pongal and sakkara pongal. So usually do the boiling of raw rice and moong dal for both in same cooker and keep aside half of it for the Sakkara pongal separately. ( that is when you don’t add salt to the boiling mixture)
- Raw rice – ¾ cup
- Moong dal / Pasi paruppu – ¾ cup
- Water – 4 ½ cups
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Jeera – 1 tbsp
- Pepper Balls / Milagu – 1 tbsp
- Cashews – 10, broken
- Ginger – 1 tbsp, chopped finely
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Asafoetida – 2 pinches
- Salt – 2 tbsp
- Wash rice and dal together in a pressure cooker. And keep aside.
- Add 4 ½ cups of water to the rice and dal mixture and keep aside by soaking them for 15 minutes. Pressure cook for 4 whistles in medium heat. Wait until pressure gets released by itself, open & mash.
- Season with the items given under to temper table. First add ghee in a pan in a medium to low heat, when hot add jeera and when it is golden brown, add the pepper balls and let it start splutter. Then add cashews and ginger and fry till it starts to get golden, add curry leaves and asafetida lastly. Mix well and add to the pongal with salt and mix well.
Serve it super hot with chutney or gothsu or sambhar.