Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pongal O Pongal with Sweet and Savory Pongal

Wishing you all a very Happy Pongal!

Pongal, the harvest festival is one of the most important festivals of the Kongu people. Predominantly an agriculture based society, pongal is celebrated to offer thanks to the sun, land, animals and the equipment in the farm that are essential for their livelihood. Today being "Surya Pongal" (Surya meaning Sun) offering is made to the Sun God. On the next day which is "Mattu Pongal", literally translated to Cow Pongal is celebrated in honor of the animals which are an essential part of any farm.

The name 'pongal' refers to the action of the water 'boiling over' the pot when the rice is cooking. Surya Pongal is usually done in the yard facing the east in the early hours of the morning when the sun is rising. The pot is set on a stove like arrangement made with three large stones and heated with firewood.

I have the perfect spot, a east facing yard for doing just such a pongal but in this cold weather chicken to brave the elements and cook outside so used the pressure cooker instead. Cook the rice/dal combo and rice is ready for both the sweet and
savory Pongal. I use half the rice for the sweet pongal and half for the savory pongal.

sweet pongal, savory pongal and coconut chutney

  1. 1 Cup Rice (I used jeeraga samba rice, any raw rice will do)
  2. 3/4 cup split moong dal (roasted)
  3. 2 1/2 cups of water
  4. 1 cup milk
  5. (Pressure)Cook the rice and dal with the water and milk till soft.

Sweet Pongal
  1. 1/4 cup jaggery
  2. 1 tbsp ghee
  3. 2-3 tbsp cashews and raisins
  4. 1 cup milk
  5. 1-2 cardamom pods crushed
  6. 1/2 tbsp sugar crystals (kalkandu)

  1. Set a heavy bottomed pan on the stove with a very low flame, add half of the cooked rice/dal combo and add the milk to it.
  2. Add the jaggery and mix.
  3. Roast the cashews and rasins in a bit of ghee.
  4. Add the ghee and cardamom and mix.
  5. once the milk is absorbed add the roasted cashews,raisins and sugar crystals.
  6. The consistency should be creamy.

Ven Pongal (Savory Pongal)
  1. 1 -2 tsp pepper corns
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. curry leaves
  4. 2 tsp of grated ginger
  5. 2 tsp ghee
  6. 2 tsp broken cashews

  1. Coarsely ground the pepper and cumin.
  2. Heat a small pan and add ghee.
  3. add the curry leaves and the pepper cumin powder.
  4. add the grated ginger and saute for a minute.
  5. add it to the cooked rice/dal combo along with the required amount of salt.
  6. add roasted cashews and mix well.
  7. Serve with coconut chutney.

We enjoy the sweet and savory after making an offering to God.


  1. Happy Pongal, Indo. You have got both sweet and savory with chutney too, Yummo!
    Have a wonderful night there. I didn't make anything special for Pongal, too late now! :)

  2. Happy pongal! eveyrthing looks terrific! i also made chakkarai pongal today.

  3. Wish you and your family members a very happy Pongal.
    I made Sakkarai and Venn pongal but with Kootukai Kuzhambu instead.

  4. Happy Pongal to your too.

  5. Happy pongal :)
    dishes look yummy :)

  6. Pongal wishes to you and your family, Indo!

  7. happy Pongal to u too dear Indo :)

  8. Thats nice! Delicious recipes... Hope you had a wonderful celebration!
    This is my first visit to your blog.. You have a nice place here.. Have added you to my blogroll.

  9. Indo, Indo Indo!!!!! Pongalo Pongal!! I am feeling like throwing up but Trisha got accepted into Chapel Hill. Almost 14000 applicants applied for early acceptance this year, only 4900 got accepted!! YAY!! Details in my next post! :)

  10. Happy Pongal Indo... My grandmother still does that using a traditional wood lit stove... while I resort to the pressure cooker :)

  11. Pongalo pongal! Pongalo pongal! Pongalo pongal! Like you, I was too chicken to brave the elements, so did it indoors (as usual). Hope you had a great time celebrating! :)

  12. பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்! மனம் நிறைந்த இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துகள்!


  13. happy pongal, dear indo.

  14. Dear ISG,

    Happy Pongal, indeed! I really enjoyed reading this post -- I love learning the meaning behind the dishes. Food is culture!

    I made sweet pongal once, long time back. Now I'll have to try the savory as well. Hope your weather warms up soon. It's pretty cold here, tonight.

    BTW I lost my day off a week early -- back to full-time work now. Will send you an email :)

  15. Slightly belated Pongal wishes to you too. :)

  16. Pongal wishes to you and your family Indo


  17. Belated but still - Happy Pongal! I love the festivity in the air more than the festival itself! Good to see your pongal items too. I like chakra pongal more!

  18. Looks perfect.I made chakarapongal too...unfortunately it was whitish in color ...blame it to the jaggery i used.

  19. Happy Pongal and a very happy New Year, ISG! Am back in NJ - from almost hot 80+ temps to 10 degrees today! :(


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