Pongal 2020 | Food

Which is better? ‘Venn’ Pongal or Sweet Pongal

Sweet Pongal

Sweet Pongal   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Jaggery-doused chakkara pongal battles it out with its comforting, peppery cousin. Who will emerge victorious?

The case for ‘Sweet Pongal’

Chakkara pongal — the very phrase brings feel-good memories to mind. Remember the first time you tasted this divine creation and how your high school crush’s smile paled in comparison?

As jaggery melts in your mouth, cashew nuts provide a gorgeous crackle of texture. Cardamom enhances the flavour, reminding you of every Pongal film release you watched.

Now, how can this inspired, gooey, heaven-sent wonder even compare with its poor cousin, the venn pongal? One is a blob, while the other sparkles. One is available throughout the year at literally every neighbourhood mess, while the other is reserved for special occasions. One induces deep slumber, while the other spurs you into sugar-fuelled action.

Besides, chakkara pongal is a true-blue native ‘dessert,’ conceptualised in Tamil Nadu. Shouldn’t we cheer for it all the more so then? I am not dissing venn pongal entirely; it does have its perks as an easy, keep-expectations-to-the-bare-minimum breakfast. You don’t order venn pongal expecting it to blow your mind. You know exactly what you get. In many ways, venn pongal is the Sasikumar to chakkarapongal’s Vijay. Bigileyyyyy!

— Gautam Sunder’s fondness for sweet is rivalled only by his unhealthy obsession with Vijay films

The case for ‘Venn Pongal’

A small measure of rice and moong dal, a handful of black pepper and cumin, a little asafoetida and lots of ghee. That is the recipe to the world’s best comfort food, pongal, in less than 25 words.

Venn pongal

Venn pongal   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let’s kill this debate before it even begins. Venn pongal is not a poor cousin. It took the genius of somebody centuries ago to invent pongal, only for it to be ruined by a nincompoop, whose sole achievement was adding jaggery and calling the resultant monstrosity, chakkara pongal. Claiming otherwise is like saying Diet Coke gave birth to Coca Cola.

It is unfair to pit the poor chakkara with the mighty pongal. One is a main-eventer; the other is Sideshow Bob. The contents of a mini tiffin order: two idlis, one vada and one large serving of chakkara pongal... said no restaurant ever! Yes, it may induce sleep. A power nap is good for your health, especially when chakkara is going around, turning a third of the country into diabetics.

The taste is unmatchable. Ever had a plate of steaming pongal with piping hot sambhar and chutney? The aroma is blissflul; the food filling and comforting. Perhaps, pottu vechittupongalsaapdrathu isn’t bad at all, despite what Adi Seshan says in Sivaji.

— Pradeep Kumar sees valour in opting to live and die by the plate of pongal

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:01:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/which-is-better-venn-pongal-or-sweet-pongal/article30558858.ece

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