இனிய பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துகள்
Thai Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated by tamils throughout India and Sri Lanka (nothern part of Sri Lanka). According to the tamil calendar, January 14th (or 15th) denotes the first day of January. So according to a tamil saying “தை பிறந்தால் வழி பிறக்கும்” means the comencement of January (தை) paves the way of new opportunities. Also its the first day of spring and farmers thank the god surya (sun) for the good harvest.
Pongal is celebrated by making sweet milk rice. Traditionally in Jaffna, Sri Lanka pongal is made in a new clay pot early in the morning – during sun rise. Milk is added to the clay pot and when it starts boiling over, uncooked rice is added to the pot and cooked. When the milk boils over, its considered good luck and brings prosperity in the following year. Traditionally the pot is placed facing east when making the pongal (sweet milk rice). When the rice is cooked Jaggery, raisins, cashew nuts, ghee and cardamom are added.
The day after Thai pongal is called “Maattu Pongal” which means honoring the cattle that worked in the fields with the farmer. In Jaffna, Sri Lanka on the Maattu pongal, cows are bathed and their horns are painted. Then pongal is made for the cows and they are worshiped.
Adai is not that common in the Jaffna Tamil cooking. It’s healthier than normal Dosai since different kinds of lentils are used. This is quicker in comparison to dosai because this does not need fermentation.
- ½ cup long grain rice
- ½ cup urud dhal (lentil)
- ¼ cup chana dhal (lentil)
- ¼ cup toor dhal (lentil)
- ¼ cup mung beans (split mung beans – dhal)
- 2 dried red chilies
- Couple of curry leaves
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 small green chili finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Oil for skillet
- Sesame seed oil or butter or ghee (clarified butter)
- Wash the rice and lentils and soak in water together for about 4 – 5 hours
- Add rice, lentils and red chili to a grinder/liquidizer and add 1 cup of water and grind coarsely (the batter should be thick – not like the dosai batter). If the batter is too thick and difficult to grind, add little water at time and grind
- Transfer the batter to a bowl and add chopped onion, green chili and salt and mix well
- Heat a skillet or tava and with a paper towel spread some oil on the skillet
- Add a spoonful of batter to the skillet and add about ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil or ¼ teaspoon butter and cover and cook.
- Lift the dosai slightly to check whether the bottom is nicely browned.
- Turn over the dosai and cook the other side until golden brown
- Serve warm with sambar or coconut chutney
- Makes about 8 adai
Bitter gourd, as its name implies has bitter taste. Due to this bitter taste, a lot of people do not like this vegetable. But in Sri Lanka, especially Jaffna bitter gourd is a very common vegetable and bitter gourd curry is consumed with rice. Bitter gourd can be fried as below and be eaten with rice. The recipe below reduces the bitterness because of the red onion.
- 6 oz bitter gourd (after removing seeds)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (for bitter gourd)
- ¾ teaspoon mild chili powder (for bitter gourd)
- Oil for deep frying (preferably canola oil)
- 4 oz red onion
- Little bit of salt and red chili powder (for onion)
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 – 4 dried red chilies broken into 2 – 3 pieces
- Curry leaves
- About 1 tablespoon oil to sauté onion
- Slit bitter gourd length wise and remove the seeds
- Slice each half into thin slices
- Add salt and chili powder and mix well and let stand for about 10 minutes
- In a vessel add oil and when it’s hot, add bitter gourd and fry until crisp and golden brown (bitter gourd has a tendency to lose its crispness very quickly, but it’s ok for this recipe)
- Drain in a paper towel and set aside
- Peel onion and cut them into very thin slices and then cut them diagonally into 2 pieces
- Add salt and chili to the onion
- In a skillet add oil and add onion and sauté until translucent
- Peel garlic and chop them into very small pieces
- Add garlic to the skillet and fry until onion and garlic are golden brown
- Add red chili, cumin seeds, curry leaves and fry for another minute
- Turn off the heat and add fried bitter gourd to the onion mixture and mix well
- Serve with rice.
- 1 large beet
- ½ teaspoon Sri Lankan chili powder
- 1 teaspoon shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 – 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- ½ cup red onion chopped finely
- 1 strand curry leaves
- 2 – 3 dried red chilies broken into 3 pieces
- Salt to taste
- Peel and wash the beets thoroughly to remove any soil particles.
- shred the beets carrot scraper or shredder
- Add beets, chili powder, salt and water to a non stick skillet and cook on a low flame for about 7 minutes
- Add shredded coconut and cook uncovered until all the water is evaporated or about 2 minutes
- Set aside
- In the same skillet add oil
- When the oil is hot add chopped onion and fry until golden brown
- Add red chilies, curry leaves and fry for another 2 minutes
- Add cooked beets and mix well and fry on low flame for another 2 – 3 minutes
- Serve with rice
Yields: 2 – 3 servings as side dish