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Festival special: Pongal recipes with a twist

Last updated on: January 11, 2013 20:37 IST

Festival special: Pongal recipes with a twist

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Aditi Bose

This Pongal, replace the rice with banana, chocolate or even oats for that matter. For beginners, here's our guide to make a tasty and healthy preparation.

Pongal, dedicated to the Sun God, is the harvest festival of South India.

In fact, it is the only Hindu festival that follows the Solar calendar and hence is celebrated on January 14 every year.

The word Pongal means the 'boiling over' of milk and rice.

During this festival, homes are decorated with mango and banana leaves while designs made out of rice flour adorn the floors.

With Pongal around the corner, here are a few interesting recipes for you to enjoy the day with. I hope you like them.

And if you have ever made any other interesting and innovative Pongal dishes with a twist then do share it with us. We would love to hear from you.

Please click NEXT to continue reading...


Image: Rice pongal
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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If you don't like milk, you can still celebrate Pongal with these amazing preparations which are salty and spicy.

Brown Rice Pongal

Wash a cup of brown rice and a cup of moong daal.

Soak them together in salted water for an hour.

Then boil them together till it begins to soften and becomes thick.

Then blend well by mashing them together with your hands or with a fork.

Saute a teaspoon each of cumin seeds, ginger paste, a split green chilli and a few pepper corns in a little ghee in a pan.

Once done, add the rice mixture to it.

Mix in some raisins just before lifting it off the fire.

Bajra Pongal

Roast a cup of broken bajra in a pan with two tablespoons of ghee.

Add it to half a cup of green gram daal.

Add three cups of water and pressure cook both together with salt.

The final mixture will look gooey and thick.

Now roast some cut pieces of almond and cashew in a spoon of ghee with cumin seeds, pepper corn and a few curry leaves.

Add the bajra mixture to it and stir for a few seconds before lifting it off the fire.

Serve with mint chutney.

Coconut Rava Pongal

Fry a cup of rava till it is hot.

Pour it into a flat bottomed dish and allow it to cool.

In the mean time, pressure-cook half a cup of moong daal till soft.

Fry a teaspoon each of ginger paste, cumin seeds, black peppercorn and curry leaves all together in a little ghee.

Once roasted, add the daal and stir to mix in the spices.

Add salt to taste.

Pour the rava slowly and keep stirring so that no lumps form.

Once the rava has mixed into the daal mixture, add a cup of grated coconut and stir.

Remove from flame after a couple of minutes.

Garnish with raisins and cashew.


Image: Brown rice pongal
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Festival special: Pongal recipes with a twist

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Oats Pongal

Roast two cups of oats with a cup of moong daal in two tablespoons of ghee.

Pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles in 4 cups of water with a spoon of salt.

Once done transfer it into a pan and let it cool.

Saute half a finely chopped onion and a spoon of ginger paste in a pan with a teaspoon of ghee.

Add to it a teaspoon each of pepper corns, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal and almonds and saute for a few seconds more.

Add the oats mixture to it and stir it well till all the water gets absorbed.

Serve warm with chutney or the pickle of your choice.

Mixed Vegetable and Quinoa Pongal

Soak a cup of quinoa for an hour to remove its bitterness.

Drain out the water and then cook it with half a cup of moong daal till it becomes soft.

Keep it covered in the cooker itself.

In the meantime, boil a carrot, a potato and half a cup of green peas in water with a pinch of salt.

Once done, chop the potato and carrot into small pieces.

Sizzle a teaspoon of cumin seeds, peppercorn, ginger paste and grated almonds with a pinch of asafoetida in hot ghee in a pan.

Once it begins to crackle, add the quinoa mixture.

Add salt, turmeric and jeera powder and stir.

Add the chopped vegetables and stir.

Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with coconut chutney.

Meanwhile, here are some of the chutneys that go well with these delicious salty pongals and the recipe to prepare them:

Tomato chutney: Blend two red tomatoes in a blender with half a green chilly or more if you like it hotter) and a little salt and sugar. Now saute a few mustard seeds in a little oil and pour the tomato puree into it. Add a pinch of asafoetida and stir well. Remove from fire and serve with the dish.

Coconut chutney: Blend a cup of finely grated coconut and a spoon of roasted gram with a pinch of salt in a blender. Saute a pinch of mustard seeds in ghee and add to the coconut puree. Stir it well and serve with the pongals.

Onion chutney: Finely chop two onions and saute till light gold in a little ghee. Let it cool. Now blend it with a little water together with salt and chilli powder to taste.

Peanut chutney: Roast a cup of peanuts in a little oil in a pan. Allow it to cool. Then blend it well with a little salt and tamarind water till it forms a smooth paste. Add a little sugar to it if you want a slightly sweeter chutney to go with your salted pongals.

Coriander and Mint Chutney: Wash a bunch of coriander and mint leaves. Now blend it together with a little water, a pinch of salt and sugar to taste.


Image: Oats Pongal
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Festival special: Pongal recipes with a twist

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For those who like their pongal sweet, here are some more interesting recipes you can try.

Sweet Barley Pongal

Roast half a cup of barley and half a cup of moong daal in a pan with two tablespoons of ghee.

Once done, add water and pressure-cook it.

Take it out after 3-4 whistles and boil it in half a cup of sweet condensed milk.

Keep stirring till the mixture begins to thicken.

Pour it into small bowls and garnish with slivers of almond.

Serve the dish warm

Jaggery Rice Pongal

Pressure-cook a cup of rice and half a cup of moong daal till soft.

In a pan add jaggery to a little water and boil till it completely dissolves.

Instead of water you can use milk too.

Reduce the flame and add in the rice mixture and stir it in well.

Add grated coconut, nuts, raisins and cardamom powder.

Mix it well before removing from the flame.

Serve hot.

Chocolate Pongal

Pressure-cook a cup of rice and half a cup of moong daal till soft.

Boil a cup of milk with cocoa powder and two spoons of sugar.

Add the rice mixture to it and stir so that no lumps form.

Roast some cashews with a spoon of cardamom powder in a spoon of ghee.

Add to the rice mixture and remove from flame.

Serve in small cups with multicoloured chocolate sprinkles as the garnish.


Image: Jaggery rice pongal
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Banana Pongal

Cook a cup of rice and half a cup of moong daal with a few strands of saffron in a pressure cooker till soft.

Mash two bananas and add a cup of condensed milk to it.

Add the rice mixture and stir it in well.

Add nuts, raisins and cardamom and nutmeg powder.

Serve hot with cubes of jiggery on the side.

Sweet Bottle Gourd Pongal

Boil half a litre of milk.

Add a cup of washed basmati rice to it.

Boil half a peeled bottle gourd.

Once done, mash it well with your hands or use a fork. If you want it really pasty, then you can blend it in a blender as well.

Add this mixture to the milk.

Add either sugar and saffron or jaggery and stir the rice-bottle gourd-milk mixture.

Add cardamom powder and slivers of almond.

Remove from flame once it begins to thicken.

Serve hot.

I hope you enjoyed going through these recipes. Do try them out. Till next time wishing all of you a very happy Pongal!


Image: Sweet bottle gourd pongal
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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