Pongal Pandigai [பொங்கல் பண்டிகை]
Pongal falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Thai [ January 14th or 15th]. It is celebrated by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new pots. The rice is later topped with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins. This tradition gives Pongal its name.
The moment the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, the tradition is to shout of "Ponggalo Ponggal!", introduce freshly harvested rice grains in the pot and blow the sangu [a conch]. Tamils consider it a good sign to watch the milk boil over as it connotes good luck and prosperity. The newly cooked rice is traditionally offered to the Sun God at sunrise to demonstrate gratitude for the harvest. This sweet preparation called Chakkarai Pongal is later served to the people present in the house for the ceremony.
Here is the Recipe for Chakkarai Pongal:
* Long Grain Rice 1 cup
* Moong Dhal 1/4 cup
* Milk 1 cup
* Melted Butter [Ghee] 1/2 to 1 cup
* Powdered Jaggery or Brown Sugar 1 3/4 cup
* Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp
* Raisins -10
* Cashew Nuts - 10
1. Cook rice and moong dal with milk and water until well done.
2. Fry cashews and raisins in ghee until golden brown and keep aside.
3. Take water and add jaggery [or brown sugar] and boil it until it dissolves and becomes thick.
4. Add cooked rice and dal to jaggery and keep stirring on low heat until well mixed.
5. Add remaining ghee in spoonfuls and continue stirring.
6. Add powdered cardamom and mix well.
7. Decorate with fried raisins and cashews.
8. Serve a little warm for a delicious taste.