A big thanks to all my blogger friends who unfailingly leave their comments, though I am unable to visit any of your blogs these days. I will be back blog hopping only after the second week of February.
Pongal is the harvest festival. Farmers celebrate the festival to thank nature for the rich harvest. The festival is celebrated on the first day of Thai month (Thai Maasa pirappu). Pongal as a festival is celebrated widely with Tamils irrespective of religion. People gather in big grounds. They build large stoves with bricks and use fire wood to light the flame. Pongal is prepared in large decorated earthen pots. At home we prepare pongal in Vengalapanai (bronze pot)
Decorating the panai
A turmeric pod, a small banana and a small piece of sugarcane are tied to the neck of the pot. Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites decorate the pot with Thiruneer( Vibhudi) and Thiruman, Shree Swarnam respectively.
The next day banana and sugarcane are offered to the cow along with some sarkkarai pongal. The turmeric pod is used by the ladies to make a paste for applying on their face.
- Rice – 1 and 1/2 cup
- Moong dal – 1/2 cup
- Milk – 1 and 1/2 litre
- Jaggery – 3 cups
- Cardamom – 6nos
- Saffron leaves – a few
- Ghee – 4 tablespoons
- Cashew – 2 table spoons
- Dry grapes – 2 table spoons
- Wash the rice and moong dal, drain well and keep aside.
- Boil milk in the decorated vengalapanai. When the milk boils and reaches the rim of the panai and slightly over flows, add the washed rice.
- Allow to cook over medium to low flame till the rice is soft. This takes around an hour. Add hot water or milk if required.
- Add grated jaggery, mix well and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Add powdered cardamom. Mix the saffron leaves in warm milk and add to the pongal.
- Garnish with cashews and dry grapes fried in ghee.
My previous post with the Vengala Panai has attracted a lot of queries on why there’s a banana, why is a sugarcane piece tied, where the turmeric is and so on. I’ll write a separate post on about why banana, sugarcane, turmeric and so on are used during festivals.