January 13, 2009

Festivals, fun and food! - Pongal

This year I've decided to blog about the million-odd (exaggeration...) festivals that are celebrated in India starting with Pongal. Not like an informative blog about the significance or anything (Wikipedia will have that) but about the different food that is cooked and eaten on those special days. And a little about my experiences cooking them.

Pongal is just about coming to an end. I don't think any other festival has this much food, especially the different dishes made with rice. I feel like I'm about to burst and we still have one more day to go. I've successfully (even if I say so myself) made vadai, semiya payasam, venn pongal, chakra pongal, avial and gotsu. Tomorrow's menu is thenga saadam and thakali sadam.
Reads like a whole host of dishes, but all very simple and easy.

Here are the lessons learnt from my experiment:
  • Pressure cooking jaggery with rice, milk and water is not good. It alters the taste of jaggery as well as lengthens the cooking time (Read tart chakra pongal and complete waste of gas).
  • Always put in a small 'blob' of whatever you're trying to fry in the hot oil and NOT a whole batch so that a quick taste and texture check can be done. (Luckily the first few pieces were used for the pooja so not eaten by us. Sorry God!)
  • Anything that needs to be stirred should NOT be in the back-burner especially when there is something in the front burner also. (Burn marks...duh)!
  • The pressure cooker must be closed tight. (It isn't really pressure cooking otherwise).
  • All ingredients should be kept ready so nothing is left out in dish. (Raisins went missing in chakra pongal)

This post is a day too early you might wonder...we still have the last day of Pongal left and two more dishes to be made. The expert cook that I am, I'm supremely confident that nothing will go wrong with those. Maybe I'll post some pics to prove it.

1 comment:

mustirao said...

You did better than my mom who shortlisted the items and included some left-overs from Bhogi too! :)