January 11, 2021

Thai Pongal / Sankranti Celebrations - Traditional recipe


Share with friends and family

 Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . 

Farmers all over India offer their gratitude to Sun God by performing various divine rituals and the first harvest is offered to Sun and the cattle are well fed . 

Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India and is known by different names ;

  • Pongal in Tamilnadu
  • Uttarayan in Gujarat & Rajasthan
  • Makar Sankrant in Maharashtra , UP, Bengal , Bihar
  • Sankranti in Karnataka & Andhra 
  • Maghi in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana
  • Bihu in Assam 

Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal

As per Tamil Solar Calender,the sun's movement shifts from Dhanur Rasshi (Sagittarius) to Makara Rasshi (Capricorn)  and this festival is also known as Thai Pongal . Thai is the Tamil month and Pongal means to "boil or to overflow". 

On this auspicious day the front yard of the houses are cleaned and beautiful rangolis (colored motifs) are drawn , mud pots or heavy bronze pots are decorated with flowers, fresh turmeric, sugarcane and then milk is boiled in that pot allowing it to overflow and  the family gathers around gloriously and happily shout " Pongal O Pongal"  . This sight is something to behold and indicates abundance and prosperity.  

Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal




In the same pot , rice and split lentil are cooked until mushy and then fresh jaggery is added along with ghee and some dry fruits.  This is then offered to Sun God, cattle and the family then rejoices this delicacy alongwith a festive meal prepared using freshly harvested vegetables.  Either Aviyal or 7 kari kootu is prepared in most houses . Some families also make Ven Pongal along with the sakkarai Pongal (Sweet pongal) 

Traditionally,the Pongal is cooked on wooden fire in the front yard or porch but in urban lifestyle we do it on the regular stove top in our kitchens. In my house we use a traditional bronze vessel to prepare this sweet Pongal .



This week in our  280th FMBH (Foodie Monday Bloghop) we are sharing Pongal / Sankranti recipes as this is the next festival in line . Apt for the theme , I thought I must share how Thai Pongal is celebrated typically in most Tamil homes.  The pictures you see are from the Pongal celebrations in my home last year. Stay tuned to my Facebook profile to check out some interesting and traditional Sankranti special recipes by my blogger friends. 

 The paanai is decorated with fresh turmeric and sugar cane leaves and kept ready . At an auspicious time or typically at Sunrise we place the pot on the stove with milk in it and wait for it to boil and overflow . This year the auspicious time as told by our family priest is 11.50am on 14th Jan 2021.

There is a tradition of gifting the daughter with a heavy Bronze Pot (Vengala paanai) on her first Sankranti after her marriage and the Pongal is prepared in this pot.  So most homes will have atleast 2 or 3 bronze pots of different sizes which will belong to the grand mom in law, mom in law and then the daughter in law . Depending on the family size the apt bronze vessel will be used to prepare the Pongal.  

The cooking process in this traditional way is time consuming as we have to cook the rice and lentils completely in this pot and this can easily take about 1 to 1.5hrs . Though it takes a lot of time , the taste is simply out of the world .


Preparation Time - 10min
Cooking Time - 1.5 to 2 hrs
Complexity - Medium 
Serves - 3 to 4

Ingredients 

1 cup rice 
1/4 cup moong dhall/split yellow lentil / paasi paruppu /hessuru bele
1/2 litre milk 
1/2 ltr water
2 cups grated jaggery  (reduce if the jaggery is too sweet ) 
1 tsp cardamom powder 
Pinch of edible camphor 
Handful of cashews and raisins
Few strands of saffron
5 to 6 tbsp ghee/clarified butter 

Method 

  • Pour milk into the bronze vessel with the saffron strands and wait until it boils. 
  • Meanwhile wash the rice and lentils and soak it in a cup of water . This enables the rice to cook faster .
  • As soon as the milk boils add the soaked rice and lentils and keep stirring to cook it well.  Keep adjusting water as and when needed.  The rice and lentil has to cook really well and must be soft and mushy.  
  • Add the jaggery and turn the flame to low once the rice has become fully mushy, until then don't add the jaggery as the rice won't cook once we add the jaggery .
  • Be very careful after adding the jaggery as the Pongal mixture will begin to boil and splutter vigorously. Keep it on low flame and drop a wooden ladle into the pot so that the bubbling is controlled and doesn't spill over .
  • Continue cooking until the jaggery is incorporated well with the rice and lentils and you get a a nice aroma . The mixture will slowly start solidifying . Turn off at this stage and leave it on the stove.  The Pongal will further cook and solidify on its own as the bronze vessel will retain heat for a long time. 
  • Add the edible camphor, ghee and cardamom powder and mix it well .
  • Roast the cashews and raisins in ghee and pour it over the sakkara Pongal. 
  • Offer the Pongal to the God and do the pooja as per your family custom and enjoy the festive day with your near and dear ones .

Tips to keep in mind

  • Once the sakkarai Pongal has cooled down, transfer it from the bronze vessel without fail ,don't leave it for long in the pot . Milk tends to react with bronze and will have a toxic reaction if left for long. 
  • Melt the jaggery and filter it if you feel there are impurities and then use the strained jaggery water.
  • Adjust water as you are cooking the rice and keep stirring, else there are chances it will burn and stick to the pot .
Pin it for future 

Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal





10 comments:

  1. Love this preparation made in a traditional way. The prasadam tastes Divine always. Miss my Chennai days when we used to get all the festive food from our friend and neighbours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's always heartening to have food cooked the traditional way on festivals. This Vengala Paanai Pongal looks so, so good. ❤️ I've never had a chance to try out this, sadly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Traditional celebration is always so good.Vengala Paanai Pongal looks super awesome. Happy Pongal!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow amazing. Loved all your pictures of preparing sakkarai pongal in traditional way. Looks absolutely divine. Adding camphor and cardamom makes it more auspicious.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Traditional recipes ate so close to our heart. Love the way you have cooked this Vengala Pannai Sakkara Pongal in a traditional way using the bronze pot.

    ReplyDelete
  6. loved your detailed description and pictures of the traditions you followed and of course dish is delicious too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thai Pongal looks very delicious and divine, very well explained about festival. Pongal that is cooked in bronze pot gives good divine taste.Also liked the aroma and taste of saffron in pongal.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved reading about your traditions and how you prepare pongal. This was the first year I found out about using the turmeric plant with the leaves to wrap it round the cooking pot. In all hindu customs turmeric is regarded as a sacred ingredient. Your pongal looks delicious too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wonderful share Priya of the traditional way of cooking Pongal with pics for this special occasions..it is always a delight to read about traditional recipes.Hope you had a wonderful celebrations with your loved ones at home.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can imagine the flavors of the sakkarai pongal made in vengala paanai. So heavenly and absolutely delicious. We also make in vengala paani only on the day of Pongal.

    ReplyDelete

If you feel your search for the recipe ends here and this blog has helped you with that,please do drop in a word / suggestion ,which will motivate me further to help you guys !!