Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pongal Celebrations

Hi readers,

Happy Pongal, Sankranthi and Vishu. Hope you are all having as much fun as we are.
May God bless you all. Lets start with a background on this festival.

Thai Pongal is a harvest festival event celebrated by Tamils across the world. Pongal coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated in various other parts of India. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over or spill over." The act of boiling over of milk in the clay pot is considered to denote future wishes for the family.

Makara Sankranti/Thai Pongal celebrates the resumption of the sun's 'journey northwards' where the days get longer. Tamil Hindus dedicate the first grain harvested to the sun on this 'Surya Mangalya'. The celebration of Makara Sankranti/Pongal is not confined to the Tamils. It is a pan-Indic event described in the Mahabharata. Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, it's a celebration of the prosperity associated with the harvest by thanking the sun god, rain and the farm animals that have helped in the harvest. In villages, new clothes are worn and people owning cows find this festival more important. Pongal is celebrated by the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.(from WIKI)

This is our pooja thali - sweet pongal, gulab jamun and vada. You can find the recipes as the entry progresses.
Otta vada:

Also known as medhu vada or ulundu vada, this is a famous snack as well as a breakfast accompaniment in South India especially Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka.


Skinned whole urad dal - 1 cup
green chillies-2
ginger chopped-small piece
onion chopped- a handful
Salt -1 tsp flat (crystal salt) or as required. (If using table salt use less)
Plastic sheet or banana leaf for making vadas(we used ziploc bag)
Oil for deep frying.


Soak Urad dal for half an hour and refrigerate it for 1 hour. Drain the water and grind it along with green chillies and salt to a smooth and soft batter adding as little water as possible.It is better to use the wet grinder for grinding than the mixie. Your batter is now ready. (tips- to find out if your batter is ready, dampen your hand and take a small ball of batter - it should not stick to your hands).

Heat oil in a deep bottomed kadai. Now take a bowl of water, dampen your fingers in it, take a lemon sized vada batter and flatten it slightly on a plastic sheet or back of the banana leaf. You can even use the aavin milk cover after washing. Enga amma apadi than seithanga. Make a hole in the middle. Now slowly transfer the shaped dough to your hands and slip it into the hot oil very gently. Fry till it turns golden brown on both sides. Remove it from oil. Repeat the process. You can fry 3-4 vadas at a time depending on the size of your kadai and the amount of oil.

Sweet Pongal:


Rice - 1 cup
Moong daal - 1/2 cup
Milk - 3 cups
Water - 3 cup
Jaggery - as required (I used 1 cup powdered)
Ghee - 1 tablespoon
Cashews - a handful
Raisins - optional
Cardamom powder - a pinch


  1. Pressure cook washed rice and daal with water and milk.
  2. Heat water and add jaggery cubes and make a syrup that watery.
  3. Once the rice and daal are cooked and the pressure is released, add the jaggery water to the rice-daal and mix well.
  4. In a pan, heat some ghee and roast cashews and raisins and garnish the pongal.
Finally the Gulab jamun, it was made with the readymade mix. So we leave it to you guys.
Have a nice day.


Padma January 14, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

Happy Pongal/Sankranthi. Nice yummy dishes. Just love vadas.

Soma Pradhan January 14, 2010 at 11:11 PM  

Happy Pongal... The Plate looks awesome

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