Makara Sankranthi also called as "Pongal" is the Harvest Festival in South India - celebrated with a beautifully tasty and simple dish called - you guessed it - PONGAL!
Sankranthi/Pongal stands for the end of the cold and winter season - and the beginning of spring. It also symbolizes the end of the frugal miserly living during the winter months - to the time of plenty - during the harvesting of the crops.
There are so many variations to the Pongal recipe - Sakarai or Sweet Pongal - Khara or Ven Pongal (common breakfast variety) - Melagu Pongal (with pepper) - here I have presented a sweet recipe that is simple and maximizes on the taste!
HAPPY PONGAL 2010 to all the readers!
Preparation time - 40 minutes
- 1/2 cup raw rice
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup coconut gratings
- 1 tsp moong (aka green gram dal)
- 1 cup sugar (tip: use jaggery instead - tastes great)
- 10 cashewnuts
- 3 cardamom - crushed
- A few strands of saffron (optional only)
- 5 tsps Ghee (clarified or melted butter)
- 2 pinches of nutmeg powder (aka Jaikai in Kannada, Jaiphhal in Hindi)
- 12 raisins
- Roast the moong lightly until it gives a faint fragrance
- Soak the fried moong and rice for about 15-20 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of diluted milk and 1 tsp of ghee to the soaked rice-moong mix.
- Pressure cook well until soft cooked.
- Separately, roast cashews and raisins with 4 tsps of ghee. Add coconut gratings and roast until golden yellow.
- make a sugar syrup of thready consistency in a vessel - mix the cooked rice and moong dal - and cook for 3 minutes on a medium flame.
- Add the coconut and cashew mix to this.
- Add the cardamom, nutmeg powder and saffron to this.
- Mix very well constantly.
Note: If you are using jaggery, make sure you dissolve in water first and remove impurities from it.