Friday, January 15, 2016

Sweet Rice Pudding | Happy 2016/ Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal

Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal is being celebrated today in several states across India. Makar Sankranthi marks the start of the journey of the Sun  northwards or "Uttarayan" or when the sun enters the 10th house of Makar or Capricorn. Basically a harvest festival, it indicates the arrival of spring in India and falls usually with Jan 13-15. In South India it is celebrated as Pongal which almost a week long festival. 

Christmas came, New Year came and it started on a good or rather musical note. After travelling, after working after lazing around, I  thought atleast now I should start blogging for the year. Today  Makar Sankranthi/ Pongal being celebrated  in some parts of India I thought I should start with a simple healthy traditional and also different dish. 

Now Pongal is a festival celebrated worldwide by all Tamilians. Each region and sometimes each family have their own recipe with slight adjustments and adaptations. This time I thought I could try a slightly different Sri Lankan Tamil version adapted from here. Its easy, healthy and vegan too if you avoid the drizzling of ghee while serving

Raw rice/ white rice/sona masuri : around 1 cup
Moong Dal / Split yellow gram: 1/4 cup

Jaggery: grated around 2-3 cups made into a syrup(adjust as per taste)

Clove powder: 1/2 tsp

Coconut Milk: 1/4 -1/2 cup medium thick

Raisins/ dried prunes/currants: handful
Cashew nuts: handful 

Ghee (optional) : for roasting the nusts and raisins and also drizzling on top.

Dry roast the moong dal lightly in a pan until the raw smell goes and it starts browning. Add it to rice.

Cook together rice,roasted dal and clove powder in enough water until its done. I prefer my pongal slightly mushy or overcooked but its your choice.

Add jaggery syrup to this mixture and continue cooking, stirring in between so that it doesn't burn. Do the taste test and add more jaggery syrup incase you want it to be more sweet. 

Add in the coconut milk and continue cooking for few more minutes on low heat. Once it thickens or reaches your consistency then remove from heat.

Serve warm in bowls as a dessert garnished optionally with ghee roasted nuts and raisins.

The measurements are guesstimates and feel free to change as per your needs. Pongal is usually made with cow's milk  and cardamom powder and I just twisted it to make a defferent yet same Lankan one which is vegan if you close your eyes to the garnishes. 

Hope you'll enjoy the dish as much as you enjoy the festival.


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