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January 14, 2009

Sakkara Pongal






The harvest festival, Pongal, is here. And I took the day off and cooked. I would normally put such stuff beyond me, but S had the day off. I requested the day off and since it was granted, I decided to make the most of it. Deepavali is my favourite festival, but Amma tells me that Pongal/Sankranti was really the most important festival. Considering we've been in the city for about 4-5 generations, I probably haven't made that all important connection with my agrarian ancestors. So, as with many other festivals, for me, this one, too, is about food.


A meal on Bhogi is the typical "pandigai saapadu". On Pongal day, Amma says the grinder is to be given some rest. So, our meal is mainly pongal. In different avatars of course. The basic rice and moong dal combination is used to prepare Coconut Rice, Lemon Rice, Curd Rice and Sakkara Pongal. And since it is the harvest festival, we have a sambar made with just about every vegetable. On Kaanum Pongal, the day after Pongal, we usually have Coconut Rice, Tamarind Rice and Avial.




Sakkara Pongal is the highlight of the Pongal lunch. I almost stopped eating Sakkara Pongal years ago when the mothers of two friends (both Palghat Iyers) gave me Sakkara Pongal with chopped jackfruit in it. This happened on two consecutive days. That killed both flavours at once for me. I have not been able to eat jackfruit since. Sakkara Pongal I have managed to start eating (once a year). Very soon I might get around to liking it again.


1/4 cup Rice

2 tbsp Moong Dal

1/4 cup Jaggery

1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder

1/4 cup Milk

a few strands Saffron

1 tsp Coconut, scraped

1 tbsp Ghee

2 tsp Cashews

2 tsp Raisins


Pressure cook the rice and the moong dal with 1 cup of water. Mash well. Dissolve the saffron in the milk and add this to the rice. Mix well.


Dissolve the jaggery in a little water and heat it until the jaggery dissolves completely. Strain this and bring the mixture to a boil. (It should come close to a one thread consistency.) Add the cardamom powder and the coconut. Stir in the rice-dal mixture.


In a frying ladle, heat the ghee. Add the cashews and the raisins. When the cashews turn golden, add the contents of the ladle to the pongal. Cook for a couple of minutes. The sakkara pongal is ready.


This was what our Pongal lunch looked like last year. Nothing really changed except the dining table itself. For two years in a row, I have managed to cook up the exact same meal that I ate year afyer year. (The only dish that I didn't make was Karnakizhangu Mashiyal. And that was only because I couldn't find the vegetable. I will post that soon. It is languishing in my drafts.) I must say I am proud of myself. The picture of this table full of food tells me that I did complete justice to my day off.


Happy Pongal/Sankranti to all of you. May you harvest every happiness this year.

29 comments:

Asha said...

Slurp!! You made the sweet one too, lovely caramel color. Happy Pongal! :))

Raaga said...

@Ashakka: Yes I did... I made the entire spread... am very proud :)

Alka said...

U have all the reasons to be proud of urself,considering the huge spread...Mindblowing !And hey Happy Pongal

Nags said...

That's quite a feast :)

aquadaze said...

Some feat, that feast!

Uj said...

Wow.. thats quite a spread... Looks delicious

Rathna said...

Good to hear that you've started eating sakarai pongal now again after that "jackfruit" episode. Happy pongal to you :-)

Deepa said...

Lovely!! Thanks for sharing, the picture specially is fun to see. I like the use of everyday containers in the picture. We're doing a bit more of an elaborate thing for pongal on Saturday. A is extremely excited about it. He plans to do a rangoli and all. Just the 3 of us.

sra said...

Nice post, Raaga, informative and funny, enjoyed reading it, esp the part about the jackfruit. Happy Pongal!

Raaga said...

@Alka: Thank you. :-)

@Nags: Fortunately, everything tasted great as well :-) So we're all smiles.

Raaga said...

@Aquadaze: Thank you :-)

@Uj: Thank you :-)

Raaga said...

@Rathna: Your sweet pongal is nice too :-) WHo knows, I may actually eat jackfruit someday :-)

Raaga said...

@Deepa: I don't yet use Corelle on an everyday basis :-) I used it yesterday (even though it was a meal for just the two of us). Someday, when I feel rich enough, I shall start using it everyday :) Last year, we had the elaborate meal over the weekend. This year, since I took the day off, I managed this.

Raaga said...

@Sra: The things we go through... and I blame it on my upbringing. When faced with the prospect of eating something horrible, Amma's words ring loud and clear in my ear: Eat what's on your plate!!

Even this morning I was telling her how bad a girl she is for "good upbringing" always seems to come in the way!

Kalai said...

Wow! I'd love to have a feast like that! Looks awesome, Raaga! Hope you had a wonderful pongal. :)

AnuSriram said...

Hope you had fun celebrating pongal. Nice spread!

Swapna said...

Hello,

That is quite an achievement.. kudos to u..

Suma Rajesh said...

wooo...u all made this delicious feast?..unbeliviable raaga...my mouthwaters and its inviting tooo.

Aparna said...

Rather belated, but wholehearted Pongal wishes to you both.

I can see you put the day off to good use. :)
I I had the jackfruit pongal experience myself once and I join you in commiseration. I don't like jackfruit and had a tough time swallowing the stuff! :(

Jyothsna said...

Happy Pongal to you!

Usha said...

Beautiful spread. Belated Pongal wishes to you !

A_and_N said...

I adore Sakkara Pongal and eat it like regular food :D Great colour though. I never get this colour. I should so try out your version!

Amruthavarshini said...

Looks lovely... add a pinch of Pachai Karpooram to get that absolute divine taste of traditional Sakkarai Pongal :)

Raaga said...

@Kalai: Thanks. Next time, do come over :-)

@Anu & Swapna: Thanks.

@Suma: Yeah... I know it is tough to believe :-)

Raaga said...

@Aparna: My soul sister!!

@Jyothsna: Thank you :-)

@Usha: thank you :)

@A&N: When you try this out, do let me know.

@Amruthavarshini: Pachai karpooram is just like jackfruit for me. I won't touch the sakkara pongal if its got camphor :-)

Miri said...

Looks like a great spread! I went late to work after the pooja and a big breakfast spread.....it was a change after enjoying almost 3-5 days off in Chennai for the past 10 years....

Swati Raman Garg said...

hellos..... just yesterday i visited all our frens blogs and i missed urs and here it is.... u know ur chakkare pongal reminds me of d authentic one i used to get in this temple in jamshedpur..... with banana and all.. sahii... am craving for it... and i couldnt make any today ... :((( but i asked my nieghbour for some.... :D Happy Pongal to you.... hope you are doing it in the same swing this yr as well...

Anonymous said...

great article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

Sumit Kaur said...

I would try this soon...the pic looks delicious :D