By: Sabrina Bastiampillai
Pongal is the only festival of Tamil people which is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year. This celebration follows a solar calendar and has an astronomical meaning. It means that the sun is moving northward for six months. Pongal is the end of the farming season. This festival is celebrated for four days. Pongal was originally celebrated by farmers but today it is celebrated by all Tamil people.
On the day of Pongal, people cook sweet rice, which I called pongal in a new earthenware pot and they place it at the alter. They tie fresh Ginger and tumeric around the pot. They mix rice, moong dal, saggery and milk in the boiling pot in an open fire. In Tamil tradition, the pongal is allowed to rise and boil over. The overflowing of the rice in the earthen pots during pongal is meant to bring good fortune and wealth. This overflowing symbolizes the abundance of the harvest and overflowing of wealth and prosperity. On the morning of the pongal day, the whole family gathers around during the overflowing of the pongal rice, and everyone enjoys their share of the treat.
The pongal recipe and its traditions date back several millennia to the times of the ancient Tamil kings of Raja and Chola Arasar and as such it is a very important part of Tamil tradition and heritage. Pongal is also handed out to worshippers at hindu temples, as many Hindu Tamils visit hindu temples during the pongal day. The day also includes gift exchanges between family members and the exchange of sweets and the pongal itself with relatives and neighbours. Pongal is eaten with the family and shared with other members of the family on January 14th. This food is very important to Tamil people around the world on that day.
- 1 cup Rice
- ¼ cup Moong dal
- ½ tsp jeera
- ½ -1 tsp peppercorns
- ½ tsp pepper powdered fresh
- A few Cashew nuts broken
- ½ cup desiccated Coconut
- A pinch of Turmeric powder
1. Fry the Moongdal a little till you get a light flavour.
2. Mix the dal with the rice, add 2 -3 cups of water (the rice should cook very soft)
3. Add turmeric powder, coconut, a few peppercorns and a 1-2 tsp of ghee to the rice and pressure cook till done.
4. When done, take a bowl add sufficient of Ghee to it, more the ghee better it tastes, add jeera, pepper corns and cashew nuts.
5. Add the cooked rice mixture, add pepper powder, salt and mix well with the ghee and jeera /cashew nuts.