Pongal is a harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God. It marks the Sun's six months journey northwards ie Uttarayana. It is celebrated as a Thanksgiving ceremony for year's harvest. Being married to a Tam-Bram, I get to celebrate both Makar Sankranti and Pongal. We do nothing elaborate but I do make Shakkarai Pongal for him. He is very fond of it. My way of making Pongal may not be the purist way so please excuse me. I am happy to share the way I make Pongal.
Ingredients Yellow Moong Dal 1/3 cup Rice 2/3 cup Water 4 cups Jaggery 2 cups Milk 1 1/2 cups Cardamom pd 1 tsp Ginger pd 1/2 tsp Nutmeg grated a pinch Ghee 5 tbsp Cashew nuts 1/4 cup +2 tbsp Raisins 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Wash and soak rice and dal for an hour.
Pressure cook with four cups of water for 4-5 whistles.
In a deep heavy bottom pan (I used a clay pot) heat 2 tbsp ghee and fry cashew nuts and raisins, 1/4 cup each.
Once the nuts turn golden, add the cooked rice and dal mixture.
Add in milk and mix well.
Add in ginger powder, cardamom powder and nutmeg.
Let it simmer on very low heat.
In another pan melt Jaggery in 1/4 cup water.
Strain the melted jaggery into the Pongal.
Now fry the remaining nuts in 3 tbsp ghee until golden.
Pour it over the Pongal.
Cover the Pongal pan and switch off the gas.
The aroma of hot ghee will permeate through the Pongal.
Serve it hot.