The festival of Pongal is round the corner .It’s time to think about the steamy sweet pongal sprinkled with cashew nuts and dripping with ghee. Leave alone savoring it, the very thought of it is enticing. The harvest festival of Tamil Nadu has two main dishes on its course - ’Sweet Pongal’ and ’Salt Pongal’. Here are some of the other popular Pongal recepies which you could try out to add more pep to your Pongal celebrations!

Godhuma Rava Palakura Pongal - Broken Wheat Spinach Medley

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups coarse wheat rava, dry roasted for 6-7 mts, 1/2 cup cooked split yellow moong dal, 1 cup chopped spinach, 1/2 tbsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp grated ginger,1 tsp pepper, 2-3 green chillis, slit length wise, 1-2 dry red chillis, de-seed and tear, Pinch of hing (inguva/asafoetida), Salt to taste, 10-12 curry leaves, 5 cups of water

Method:

Wash the wheat rava and dal and soak them together in water for 15-20 mts. Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed vessel or pot, heat ghee. Add cumin seeds, let them splutter and turn slightly brown. Add ginger, curry leaves, green chillis, red chillis ,pepper and asafoetida.Then, add spinach leaves and saute for 5-6 mts. Add the drained wheat rava and dal mixture and stir with the rest of the ingredients for a minute. Add 5 cups of water and salt to the above mixture, bring to a boil, cover and cook on medium to low heat till both the dal and wheat rava are cooked. This could take approximately 30 mts. Serve it as a meal by itself with a pickle of your choice, curd and papad.

Khara Pongal

Ingredients:

Moong Daal -1 cup, Rice- 1 cup, Cashewnuts 10-12 nos, Cumin Seeds, Pepper Powder -1 tsp each, Chopped Green Chilli 3-4 no (depending on size and taste), Dry Coconut Flakes -2 tbsp, Turmeric Powder -1/2 tsp, Salt to taste, Water- 3 to 3 1/2 cups

Method:

Take a cooker and heat two tbsp of oil in it. Wash moong daal and rice and keep it separately. Roast cashew in the oil and keep aside. Now, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add green chilli and fry for a few seconds.Now, add moong daal and fry for a minute. Add water and the washed rice. Also add coconut, salt and turmeric powder. Close the cooker and allow it to whistle thrice. After the cooker cools down, add pepper powder, cashews and chopped cilantro leaves. Note: You can use ghee instead of oil. Ghee gives a better taste.

Akaara Adisal- Kalkandu Pongal

Ingredients:

Rice – 1 cup, Moong Dal – ¼ cup, Milk – ½ litre, Kalkandu (Sugar Candy/ Rock Sugar) – 1 ½ cups, Cardamom – 6 nos, Saffron – 10 to 12 leaves, Ghee – 1/3 cup, Cashew – 4 tbsp (or more), Dry Grapes – 4tbsp (or more)

Method:

Wash rice and dal and pressure cook together with 3 cups of water. Take out the rice and dal and mash with 2 tbsp ghee. Transfer to a heavy bottomed pan. Add ½ litre milk and cook on low fire. Add sugar candy and keep cooking on a low to medium fire stirring occasionally for approximately 5 minutes. The Pongal will now be in a semi solid state – it will become thicker as it cools. Crush cardamom and add to Pongal. Mix well and transfer to a serving dish. Dissolve saffron with 1 tbsp lukewarm milk. Toast the cashew and dry grapes separately with the remaining ghee in a kadai. Decorate the Pongal with cashew , dry grapes and saffron milk. Serve hot or chilled.

AshwiniRamakrishnan

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