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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pongal and Roasted Chickpeas- Ginger Chutney

January is the month when harvest festival Sankranthi is celebrated in Southern India. Their main staple food is rice and on the festive occasion, the food prepared reflects the new crops grown and harvested. One of the foods that always figure on that day is pongal. This is also one of the regular breakfast items in a South Indian wedding. I would call it divine food since this is one of the foods that is offered as "Naivedyam" (an offering to diety) and served as "Prasadam" to the devotees in Hindu temples worldwide including the world famous abode of Lord Balaji at Tirumala. This recipe is from my MIL who prepares one of the best pongals that I have ever tasted. I have followed her method and ingredients. My MIL never cooked in small quantities and hence the quantities used here are to suit my taste. She used to serve this with her ginger gojju and chutney. You can use a pressure cooker to keep this preparation simple and fast. If you don't own a pressure cooker, take a big sturdy pot with a thick bottom to cook pongal. You may need more water (than mentioned in the ingredients list), to cook in the pot. In my opinion, both methods will yield the same result. The quantity of the ghee used in the preparation of pongal makes all the difference. The more the ghee, the better the taste.  

Ingredients: 
1 cup rice
1/2 cup moongdal 
4 & 1/2 to 5 cups water
1 tbsp. peeled and grated ginger
1/2 tsp. pepper corns
1/2 tsp ground pepper corns  
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup ghee
1 /4 cup cashew nuts
1.5 tsp salt
A sprig of curry leaves 
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (Optional)
  
Method:
* Dry roast moong dal on a medium flame till it starts to turn very light brown and you start to feel the aroma. 
* Wash the rice thoroughly with water and drain. Add rice, moong dal, salt, turmeric powder, pepper corns and water to a pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles. 
* For the tadka part, heat ghee in a small pan. Add ginger, cumin seeds, pepper powder, cashews, curry leaves in that order. When ginger pieces turn brown, turn off the stove. Add this to the cooked rice - dal mixture and stir. Again turn on the stove and let this mixture / pongal simmer on low flame for 5 minutes so that it can absorb the flavors of the spices added. 
Alternatively, the tadka mixture can be added to rice and moongdal before cooking. There is no need to simmer it at the end, if you cooked rice & dal with the tadka. Serve hot pongal with ginger gojju or chutney. Though it is optional, Pongal is usually served with a generous serving of ghee to make it more delicious. 
 Roasted chickpeas - Ginger Chutney:  
Roasted chickpeas (Pappulu) chutney is the most common chutney prepared in South India. Indian stores sell these roasted chickpeas under the gujarati name dalia. It serves as a side dish for most of the breakfast foods like dosas, idlis, vadas, upmas, pongals etc. It is very easy to prepare and best served fresh. Usually the coconut chutney version has more coconut and a few tbsp. of roasted chickpeas. The other adult at home hates coconut and so I settled at this coconut-less version for our everyday needs. 

Ingredients:  
1 cup roasted chick peas (pappulu) 
One inch piece of peeled ginger  
3 to 4 green chillies
Salt to taste
A handful of cilantro leaves  
For tadka: 
2 tsp oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds 
1 tsp Chanadal (Bengal gram)
A sprig of curry leaves    

Method:
Grind chickpeas, ginger, chillies,salt and cilantro using water into a smooth, thick paste in a blender and transfer it into a bowl.  
Heat the oil in a small pan. Add chanadal, mustard seeds and curry leaves. When chandal turns red and mustard seeds start to splutter, remove from the stove and add to the chutney bowl. Stir and serve with breakfast.  

Comment

6 comments:

Asha said...

Suma,Gojju and chutney are mouthwatering.Thanks girl!:)))

Seema said...

Suma, Pongal looks picture perfect and the gojju I loved it.

Suma Gandlur said...

Asha,
Thanks.

Seema,
Thanks.Just try once eating pongal with gojju.You would never again eat pongal without it.

Kanchana said...

Cool Pictures! I love venpongal!

Kanchana
www.kanchspot.blogspot.com

Suma Gandlur said...

Kanchana,
I too love pongal. Thanks for dropping my blog and keep visiting.

Madhavi said...

wow! this seems to be very nice..
I am in korea where we rarely get coconut..so this chutney will really help me....