How to Make Sweet Pongal
Thai Pongal is celebrated in the month of January (thai) and is the Tamil equivalent to harvest and thanksgiving. The Tamil festival is actually a 4-day celebration.
Day one is Bhogi where worshipers burn any old or unwanted items, symbolising new beginnings. Day two is Thai Pongal, the most important and widely celebrated day of the festival, where Tamil people offer their thanks to the Sun God and farmers for their yearly harvest. Day three is Mattu Pongal, which is dedicated to farm animals like cows and bulls, who help farmers harvest crops. Kaanum Pongal marks the last day of the celebration where people lay pongal and other food outside their homes as an offering to the Sun God, and spend the day with loved ones.
Pongal is a dish made of rice boiled with milk, jaggery, raisins, cashews and other spices and is traditionally made in earthenware pots over a wooden fire.
Sweet Pongal Recipe
200g red raw rice
100g roasted mung daal
300g jaggery (grated or cut into small pieces)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
40g cashews (or to your taste)
20g raisins (or to your taste)
Wash and rinse the rice and mung daal three or four times.
Put a litre of water and a pinch of salt to a pan and bring to boil.
Add your rice and mung daal and let it simmer over medium heat until the rice is cooked (roughly takes 30 minutes).
Once the rice is cooked, add jaggery and 50g of ghee to the rice and mung dal and let it melt whilst stirring on low heat.
After 5 minutes, add the milk and cardamom powder and give it a good stir for two minutes, before taking it off heat.
Melt 10ml of ghee in a separate pan and add the cashews and raisins.
Gently roast until the raisins puff up and the cashews are golden.
Add your roasted cashews and raisins to your pongal and give it a stir. It is now ready to serve!