Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Posted by Mala at 2:00:00 AM No comments
      This dish is very much associated with the festival of the farmers, and  Pongal Festival  is celebrated on a very grand scale, especially in Tamilnadu. I am going to share a very very easy method of making Chakkarai Pongal. Am also going to share a magic ingredient, which enhances the flavour and taste of this Pongal.

Raw rice - 1/2 cup
Split moong dhal - 2 tbsps
Jaggery (Paagu vellam) - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 2 tsps
Raisins and cashews
Ghee - 6 =8 tbsps
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Milk - 4 tbsps
A few strands of saffron, soaked in some warm milk
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
 A magic ingredient (mentioned down below)

Recipe Cuisine: South Indian; Category: Sweets
Prep time: 10 mts; Cooking time: 20mts

Yields 6 small servings

First soak rice and moong dhal. Normally I gently roast them, but this time, I was in a hurry. Many a times, I have just soaked them, without roasting them, and trust me, there is no difference at all between the two methods. I always soak them up for 1/2 hour, to soften them. Then, pressure cook it for 10 -15 minutes. Or as many whistles as you want. Because, each pressure cooker varies, each one's method varies

Cooked rice and dhal

In the meantime, take the measured jaggery in a vessel, add 1/4 cup water, and allow it to melt. Always remember, jaggery has impurities, and it has to be filtered.

Cooked rice and dhal, mashed nicely. A word of precaution here. Always mash it up very well. Because, the moment you add it to the jaggery, rice will show up as bigger grains. If you feel it is very thick, you can add some milk and make it to a porridge consistency. 

Soaked saffron strands added

Cardamom powder added

Gently add the jaggery water &  2 tsps sugar, 

 Add 2 tsps ghee also, take care to keep on slow flame, and to gently stir it now and then. In the rest of the ghee, add cashews, raisins, wait for them to turn into golden colour and add.

Add the cashews and raisins, roasted in ghee.

 You must be wondering what the Magic Ingredient is!!!! Add a very small of nutmeg powder, and then see, to which heightens  the taste and flavour leap up!!! Do you see a small black spot, on the top? That is the place, where I have added the nutmeg powder. Just a speck.

* Be very careful about the quantity of nutmeg powder. If it increases, it may become bitter.
* Paagu vellam is the best thing,it lends dark colour, has enough stickiness, and has very good flavour and taste. Other jaggeries, even though they might be whitish in colour and may not have impurities, do not come up to the standard of paagu vellam.
*In the other countries, always, I have noticed, there is no impurity in jaggery, but it does not lend this beautiful dark colour to Chakkarai Pongal.
* Grated or chopped coconut pieces can be roasted in ghee and added too. It is optional. While it is Salem tradition  to add coconut, Tanjore cooking does not have that.


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