The fortuitous event of Pongal, also known as Sankranti, Lohri based on the distinct cultures of various states in northern and southern India, is observed across the subcontinent today. With the lush fields and verdant plantations across the country producing a generous local harvest of nutritious vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts and oils, yet again. Besides offering a heartfelt thanks to Mother Nature for Her profuse natural bounty that helps sustain all forms of life on Planet Earth, this time around, we need to remember to do one more rather important thing. As we welcome 2021 and dive into the revelries of Pongal, we also have a lot of prayers and gratitude to offer to the Almighty, for surviving the challenging scenarios presented before us in 2020. Of course, largely owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing practices, lockdowns and alarming health threats.
Now, upon realizing that our health must not be taken for granted, the spotlight is on nourishing, home-cooked meals and nutritious food ingredients, packed with proteins, fibers, vitamins, for heightened immunity and uplifted metabolism. In addition, maintaining a considerable distance from sick persons and avoiding gathering in large groups or visiting crowded public places are necessary measures to keep the coronavirus infection at bay. Yes, you guessed it, the grand occasions of Pongal, Sankranti and Lodhi are no exception to these long list of new normal rules. However, this does not imply having to tone down the revelries. Just that all the merriment must be done in small groups of a few family members or close friends, keeping in mind to follow hand sanitizing and wearing protective face masks when stepping out.
Authentic South Indian Recipes To Relish During Pongal Festivities:
The traditional customs of Pongal encompass intricate artistic kolams with rice flour, bonfires to burn wastes and symbolically bid adieu to negativities in the past. Also, rituals to honour and ward off evil from affecting cows, bovine animals, flying big kites in vibrant hues and sisters praying for the wellbeing of their brothers take place during the lavish, colourful, extravagant week-long celebrations of Pongal. But we get what you’re thinking - the harvest festival celebrations are incomplete without a cup of warm sweet pongal laced with dollops of ghee cooked in traditional earthen pots, right? With some crispy vadais to bite into as well? We bring you just what you’re looking for then – two lip-smacking, customary recipes of Sakkara Pongal, a delicious sweet with rice, lentils, jaggery and Kappa Vadai, fried balls of tapioca seasoned with spices, that vastly enrich overall wellbeing too!
½ cup rice
¼ cup moong dal
1 cup jaggery powder
2 tsp elaichi i.e. cardamom powder
11 – 13 whole cashew nuts
3 tbsp raisins
A pinch of edible camphor i.e. pacha karpooram
5 cups water
Dry roast the moong dal in a pressure cooker until it turns light yellow.
Add the rice, along with sufficient water to this and pressure cook for 4 whistles on medium flame, so they become soft.
Prepare the jaggery syrup in a vessel on low flame, adding enough water and stirring constantly to obtain a slightly sticky paste.
Combine the jaggery syrup with the boiled moong dal and rice in the pressure cooker, sprinkle elaichi powder and mix well, adding a little water and heating on medium flame.
In a pan, heat ghee on medium flame, add the cashews, once they turn brown, put in the shrivelled raisins and cook till they become voluminous.
Turn off the stovetop, top it off with the edible camphor and transfer this roasted cashew-raisin mix to the sweetened rice-dal blend.
Indulge in this hot Sakkara Pongal with near and dear ones this harvest festival season.
Rice is a primary source of carbs for instant energy, amplified stamina, while moong dal offers abundant proteins for strong muscles. Rich in iron, jaggery rectifies anaemia and beats fatigue, lethargy. Vast reserves of healthy unsaturated fats, omega 3 in cashew nuts improve cardiac functions and preserve heart health. Elaichi possesses powerful phytonutrients with aphrodisiac traits that elevate sexual wellness.
2 large kappa i.e. tapioca tubes
2 tbsp rice flour
7 small pearl onions, finely chopped
1 green chilli, sliced
Salt, as per taste
2 cups coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
A bunch of curry leaves
Some fresh coriander leaves
Heat water in a vessel and boil the kappa i.e. tapioca till it becomes soft. Allow it to cool down, then mash nicely.
Combine the rice flour, salt, chopped onions, cut green chillies, cumin seeds, curry leaves, coriander leaves along with the mashed kappa, for the vadai mix, adding some water.
Shape the vadai mix into even-sized small, round balls and slightly press to flatten it.
In a kadai, heat the coconut oil on high flame, slowly transfer the vadai moulds into it, deep fry until both sides turn golden brown and remove.
Take away the excess oil from the fried balls and savour the crunchy, tasty Kappa Vadais hot with coriander chutney and sambar.
Tapioca is chock-full of valuable nutrients, being rich in carbs, calories for ample energy and healthy weight gain, besides being gluten-free and hence ideal for those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Laden with dietary fibers and vitamin C, onions aid in digestion and bolster immunity, shielding the body from disease. Green chillies contain the potent antioxidant capsaicin, which fights free radical damage, protects healthy cells, tissues in the body and prevents cancer. Imbued with calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, coriander leaves tremendously increase bone density and fortify joints.
Netmeds.com Wishes All Its Customers A Very Happy, Joyful And Healthy Pongal, Sankranti, Lohri!