Pongal is a South Indian breakfast recipe made from rice and dal, is a great way to start the day. You can pair it with sambar and chutney for a complete gastronomical experience.
Pongal is served as a bland mix of rice and lentils in a bowl. With a smooth porridge-like consistency, the Pongal is freshly made, served piping hot. It is best served with the topping of a tempering of cashews, curry leaves, pepper, and ghee.
It is a simple and easy dish is a popular breakfast dish from South India. It is not very far from Khichdi which is a rice and lentil porridge commonly cooked in the Northern part of India.
Pongal is often served as prasad which is considered as a offering to God in temples of India. It also has a cultural significance during the Pongal festival which falls in mid-January. It is the day when the sun transits into the sign of Capricorn. It is considered an auspicious day in Hindu Mythology across the Indian Subcontinent. It marks the beginning of a 6-month auspicious period called Uttarayana when the days become longer and warmer. It is the same time when winter crops are harvested in India. the freshly harvested crop is offered to God to express gratitude to God for a good harvest. Celebrations are held in the country with regional variations. In parts of Northern and Western India, it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, in the East, it is called Bihu, and it is called Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Sankranti in Karnataka and Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Special dishes are cooked on this day by using the newly harvested grains.
In Tamil Nadu, Thai Pongal is a 4-day festival. The word Pongal means boiling over. Boiling over milk is considered auspicious and signifies prosperity. That’s why on the second day of Pongal, rice and milk are boiled in earthenware and is then allowed to overflow. Everyone shouts “Pongalo Pongal!” which means “May this rice boil over,” while praying for an abundance in harvest, fortune, and prosperity. Jaggery, cashews and roasted moong dal are added to the remnant milk and offered to God as parsad before serving it to the family members.
Preparing the spices