Saturday, January 15, 2011

Salt Pongal and Sweet Pongal for Makara Sankranthi

I wish all my Indian readers a very Happy Makara Sankranthi, Lohri.
It has been a tradition to make 'Ellu' and distribute among the neighbors, friends and relatives. The way I see is; this festival is a harvest festival. In India, at this time, many grains, vegetables are in season and ready for harvesting. Every house in southern India celebrate this by making Pongal/Huggi/Kichadi. Name is different, flavoring is different but the main purpose is the same. To use the freshly harvested rice and lentils.

In Karnataka where I am from, tradition of making Ellu is present. You can read about that here.
Picture 269

Each family has their own way of making these two pongals. I have eaten very nice ones and I have  eaten not so good ones and some very bad ones. Most of the times, these two are made by using ghee/clarified butter liberally. But knowing a good part of what I make gets into my body, I am not so liberal with ghee unless it is absolutely needed.

One Year Back:
Roasting Rava/Soji in the oven
Moong Dal Halwa
Sankranthi Ellu
Ragi Banana Paniyaram/Gundu Pongal
Vegan Ragi Peanut butter Cookies

Uppu Pongal / Savory Pongal / Ven Pongal
Ingredients:
Raw rice - 2 cups (Starchy rice like long grain, not basmati work best for this dish)
Moong dal/ Split yellow lentils - 1/2 cup (See Notes)
Vegetable oil / Peanut Oil - 5 TBSP (See Notes)
Ghee / Clarified Butter - 2 TBSP (optional for flavor)
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp whole
Black Pepper - 1 - 11/2 TBSP crushed or as per taste
Cumin - 2 1/2 tsp divided use
Hing - a big pinch or two
Dry coconut - grated 1/2 cup
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Ginger - 1 1/2 " piece grated about a little more than 2 TBSP
Cashews - 1/4 cup or more
Salt - to taste
Pongal1

Method:
In a skillet, dry roast the moong dal/split yellow lentils. Keep stirring. You don't want them to brown too much but at the same time you want them nicely toasted. Set aside. Rinse rice and roasted lentils together couple of times. Pour 5 - 6 cups of water to the rinsed and drained rice dal mixture. Add turmeric, whole black pepper and 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds. Pressure cook this till done. When these are cooked, remove from the pressure cooker and start assembling.
In a large pan, heat oil. When hot, add remaining 2 tsp of cumin seeds, hing, crushed black pepper, grated ginger, cashews. Let cashews be toasted. Add the cooked rice and dal mixture. Add about another cup of water and salt. Mix well. Add the grated dry coconut, 2 TBSP of ghee and cover with a lid. Let it stay on low flame for about 5 minutes. Stir and taste and adjust salt if needed. Serve hot or warm or cold. This is traditionally served with either chutney or gojju or sambar.

Notes:
Every person has his/her own proportion of rice and dal in this dish. I use what my mother used. 1 cup rice to 1/4 cup lentil. There are people who add equal amounts of rice and dal too.
Traditionally, this is made with all ghee. Not healthy at all. That too lot more than what I have used (oil and ghee combined). I use ghee to flavor and oil to roast the spices and nuts. If you are one of those who can eat a lot of fatty food and not put on a pound even, go ahead and indulge by using all ghee and more of it.

Sweet Pongal / Shakkar Pongal / Sakkarai Pongal
Ingredients:
Raw rice - 1 cup (Starchy rice like long grain, not basmati work best for this dish)
Moong dal/ Split yellow lentils - 1/4 cup

Ghee / Clarified Butter - 1/3 cup (You can add upto 1/2 cup)
Jaggery - Powdered and measured 1 1/2 cup (You can use up to 2 cups)
Cardamom Powder  - from 6 - 7 whole pods
Ground nutmeg - a pinch
Dry coconut - grated 1 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup or more
Cashews - 1/4 cup or more
Milk - 1/4 cup (optional - see notes)
Pongal2


Method:
In a skillet, dry roast the moong dal/split yellow lentils. Keep stirring. You don't want them to brown too much but at the same time you want them nicely toasted. Set aside. Rinse rice and roasted lentils together couple of times. Pour 3 cups of water to the rinsed and drained rice dal mixture. Pressure cook this till done. When these are cooked, remove from the pressure cooker and start assembling.
In a pan, take powdered jaggery. Pour enough water to cover it and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring till all the jaggery is melted. Strain through a strainer to remove impurities, stones etch. Place the filtered jaggery syrup back in the pan and heat. You should be able to smell a very nice aroma of the jaggery and it should be bubbling all over vigorously. Add the cooked rice and dal mixture and stir. Lower the heat or else it will burn. Add couple of TBSP of ghee from the 1/3 cup and stir. Let it stay on heat for 5 minutes. Add grated dry coconut, cardamom, nutmeg. Stir well.
In another small pan, heat the remaining ghee. When hot, add cashews. When cashews are almost done, add raisins. When raisins plump up, add the entire mixture to the main pot which has jaggery, rice and lentils. Stir well. Now add the milk and mix well. Turn off the heat and serve warm.
pongal3

Notes:
This dish uses a lot more ghee than what I have used. The best Shakkar pongal I have eaten had the rice and dal mixture submerged in ghee. God was it good? Yeah, but I cannot afford to eat that rich food and not have to buy new clothes. If you use that much of ghee, you don't need milk. I added milk to avoid crystallization of sugar (jaggery) so that the rice becomes hard. My mother never added any milk to it and she did make this with lot of ghee. You could add saffron and or edible camphor. Edible camphor is very strong. Use sparingly.

Enjoy. Pin It

16 comments:

  1. Happy pongal and suh wonderful photographs...it is too good.
    Reva

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  2. delicious pongals and wishing u a very happy pongal

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  3. happy pongal...lovely clicks and mouthwatering dishes...yum

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  4. Happy pongal wishes to u and ur family..both pongals looks truly tempting..

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  5. sending u festive cheers & greetings !looks yumm !

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  6. Happy Pongal....
    Both the them looks delicious and beautiful presentation!!

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  7. happy pongal wishes to you and ur family...delicious pongal and clicks

    Satya

    Super Yummy Recipes

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  8. Both pongal are yummy. Very cute snaps..

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  9. Wonderful Clicks!!!! Yummy Pongal!!!! Happy Pongal to you and your family!!!

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  10. Delicious!! Greeting to you too!!

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  11. Immensely thank you for the wonderful and detailed description... followed it to the tee and was able to get the result close to the one that is pictured here!

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  12. nice piece of information, I had come to know about your internet site from my friend vinay, delhi,i have read atleast 12 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your website gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new post, once again hats off to you! Thanx a ton once again, Regards, chakkara pongal recipe

    ReplyDelete

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