Monday, 22 October 2007

Sarkkarai Pongal

If there is one dish that has probably survived without much change for centuries, it must be Pongal – Tamil food can’t get any more authentic than that. The cooking method might have changed over time, but the dish itself has undergone only little change.

The finished product depends on the quality of the main ingredients used, rice and Jaggery. Par boiled rice is generally consumed in TamilNadu, it always intrigues me as to why par boiled rice isn’t used for making Pongal. I am sure there must be some significance. I make Sarkkarai Pongal for most festivals including Saraswathi Poojai as it is simple to make and delicious to eat. Hence decided to enter it for the RCI Tamilnadu festival food event. This recipe of mine is influenced by reading various tips from this place, a wonderful site for discussing food. So here goes my recipe

  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Jaggery – 1 cup (Oh yes I have a sweet tooth)
  • Cardamom – 2 (roughly smashed)
  • Ghee/butter – 1 spoon
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Cashew nut/raisins/thinly sliced coconut strips – as per taste

Pressure cook the rice with 1 cup milk and 2 cups water. Once cooked mash it with a spoon as much as you can. In a thick bottom pan place the jaggery and ½ cup water on slow flame to melt it. Skim away any impurities that may come on the top. There are different varieties of jaggery and many people consider achu vellam the best. I use a combination of achu vellam and karupati (this gives a nice brown colour to the Pongal). After skimming away the top layer, add the cooked rice and stir well till all the water in the mixture is absorbed into the rice and the rice reaches a thick consistency. In a small pan heat the butter or ghee and add the cashew nuts, raisins and/or the coconut strips. When the cashew is golden brown and the raisins swell add this garnish to the rice and mix well. Finish off by adding some crushed cardamom. Some like to finish off with a generous amount of butter. There you have it, a dish favoured by all Gods!

P.S - a handful of moong dal is generally added to the rice in the cooker. I have found that moong flares my younger troops eczema and so I haven't included it in the recipe. I feel it doesn't make a big difference to the taste.


Vcuisine said...

Dear Devi, thank you for the entry. Appreicate your interest in participating this event. You will meet new friends through this world and this will be a good chance for others also to know you. The pongal is great. Viji

Devi said...

Thanks Viji for the encouragement. I am looking forward to participate much more in the food blogging world and get to know all of you out there doing a great job.