When I recently complied recipe index, I realized that many simple, common Indian festive dishes have not been posted on my blog yet though this is my 10th year of blogging. The main reason being that I usually don't cook festival dishes in advance for blog's sake since I have to cook them anyway on the festival day. However 'clicking' those dishes during festivals would be the last thing on my mind because of the hectic schedule. I picked the theme of the festival dishes this week to change that as Sankranti / Pongal is around the corner.
Sweet and savory pongals, the south Indian style thick and creamy rice puddings take the center stage on a Makara Sankranti day in majority of the south Indian households. And they also happen to be the popular 'prasadams' distributed to devotees in temples across the region and 'naivedyam' offered to God at homes. Today's version is the one commonly prepared in our home using sugar and coconut and a favorite of mine.
1/2 cup rice *
2 tbsp. moong dal
1 & 1/4 cup water
1 cup full fat milk
1/4 cup fresh, grated coconut
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
5 - 6 tbsp. sugar (adjust according to taste)
1 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. cashew nuts
A pinch of camphor powder (optional)
* Use any south Indian style white rice. I prefer to use extra long grain rice since it can be cooked to a softer / mushy consistency. Do not use Basmati rice.
* Wash rice and moong dal in two exchanges of water and drain. Add water to rice and dal and pressure cook until rice is almost cooked mushy.
If cooking in a sauce pan, try to go with a non stick one if you have one. Add rice, dal and a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to lowest setting and cook. Keep an eye while the rice is cooking and keep adding water intermittently as needed and keep stirring. Soaking the rice in water for at least a couple of hours prior to cooking will cut down the cooking time. More quantity of water is needed if cooking in a sauce pan.
* Heat ghee in a pan and toast the cashews and raisins until they turn golden and plump respectively. Transfer them to a small bowl. Add the pressure cooked rice - dal mixture to the pan and mash it slightly using the back of a ladle. Then add milk, coconut and sugar to the pan and cook until almost the milk is absorbed. Add the ground cardamom, edible camphor if using and the toasted cashews - raisins to the cooked pongal and stir to combine. Turn off the stove and serve the pongal warm.
This goes to Blogging marathon #60 under the theme 'Festival of the Month'. Check the link to see what other marathoners are cooking.