Pongal is celebrated on the first day of tamil month “THAI” and also it represents the first harvest of the year. It is celebrated to convey appreciation to the SUN GOD.
Pongal is celebrated four day long-HARVEST FESTIVAL by TAMIZHIANS.
The four days of pongal are
• THAI PONGAL
• MATTU PONGAL
• KAANUM PONGAL
Bhogi festival is the first day of pongal. It is celebrated in honour of LORD INDRA (GOD OF RAIN). During this festival, people burn the unwanted useless items of the household into BONFIRE.
Traditionally the BONFIRE made of Cow dung cakes, wood and vaikol (dried stalks of paddy)
Thai Pongal is celebrated on the first day of tamil month “THAI” and also it represents the first harvest of the year. It is celebrated to convey appreciation to the SUN GOD. People offer first harvest rice, fresh farm veggies and fruits along with sugarcane, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger and jaggery . This festival is celebrated by all tamilians all over the world with no restriction of caste and community (// it is not relevant to any particular religious faith//). It usually falls between 12th – 15th on month of January, according to English calendar.
//Pongal in Traditional Way//
In Tamil PONGAL means “Overflowing” signifying abundance and prosperity.
Traditionally people use to make pongal in a handmade MUD POT, MILK is the main key ingredients for this pongal, where thay pour the milk along with some water and bring it to boil. Once the milk “Overflowing”, by that time some people use to blow a “COUNCH/ SANGGU” followed by “PONGALO; PONGAL” chorused by the rest of the family members.
Followed by the each and every one at the home add at least one hand of rice into the pot and they cook the rice along with some jaggery, ghee and cardamom powder.
The super tasty and divine “PONGAL” is ready to offer as naivedhyam to SUN GOD stands for “PRATYAKSHA BRAHMAN”. They offer the PONGAL along with banana and sugarcane.
Later, the pongal is served along with full MEALS ( white rice, sambar, kootu, poriyal, rasa, appalam and vadai)
//pongal in modern kitchen//
• PAAL PONGAL
• SAKARAI PONGAL
• 7/9/11/21 KARI KAAI KOOTU
• Raw rice – 1 cup
• Moong dhal – 1 tblsp
• Whole milk – 2 cups
• Water – 2 cups
• Wash the pongal pot and apply vibudhi and kunkumam and tie the pot neck with turmeric and ginger root
• Pour the milk and water in the pot and bring it to boil
• Once the milk overflow, chorus “PONGALO PONGAL” and reduce the flame and add the washed moong dhal and raw rice.
• Cook well until mushy.
• Before start doing this, we should perform a pooja for MANJAL PILLAYAR.
• As per my family tradition we will not salt in this dish before naivedhyam. You check with your family elder for further clarification.
7/9/11/21 KARI KAAI KOOTU:
• Sakaravalli kizhangu/ sweet potato – 1no (diced)
• Manjal poosani/ pumpkin – 1 slice (diced)
• Sembu/ tara root – 1 no (diced)
• Urulai/ potato – 1 no (diced)
• Avarakkai / broad brans – 5 nos (chopped)
• Pacha miligai/ Green chili – 2 nos (slitted)
• Nellikkai/ Indian gooseberry – 1 no (sliced)
• Thakkali/ Tomato – 1 no (diced)
• Vazhakkai/ plantain – 1 no (diced)
• Fresh masala / sambar podi – 2 tblsp
• Puli karasal / tamarind puree – ¼ cup
• Salt – to taste
• Gingelly oil – 1 tblsp
• Curry leaves – few (optional)
• Water – as req
Fresh Masala :
• Fresh Ginger – 1 inch
• Fresh turmeric – 1 inch
• Dry red chili – 3 -5 nos
• Coriander seeds – 3 tbslp
• Split channa dhal – 1 tblsp
• Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
• Fresh grated coconut – ¼ cup
• If you are using fresh masala, then dry roast the above mentioned masala and grind it into a fine paste and keep aside.
• Wash and clean the kuzhambu pot and apply vibudhi and kunkumam and tie the pot neck with turmeric and ginger root.
• Now add the chopped vegetables along with some water, bring it to boil.
• Add salt and the freshy grounded masala along with tamarind puree and cook it until the raw smell goes off.
• Turn off the flame; add some fresh curry leaves and a tblsp of gingelly oil.
• My family custom, we don’t do tempering for this receipe.
• You can even add vellai poosani, motchai, kizhangu variety for extended kootu.
• Some family custom add toor dhal too.
PONGAL SPL LUNCH MENU IDEAS:
//refer Puratasi Thaligai Menu//
• Sakarai pongal/ sweet pongal
• Paal pongal
• 9 Kari Kaai Kootu
• White rice
• Paruppu nei/ dhal ghee
• Arachivitta sambar/ freshly grounded masala sambar
• Cabbage-moong dhal poriyal
• Potato peas masala
• Vatha kuzhambu
• Thakkali rasam/ tomato rasam
• Medhu vadai
• Paruppu payasam
• Nellikai/ carrot thayir pachadi
ADUIPPU KATTI SADAM (FAMILY CUSTOM)
• Once everything is ready for naivedhayam, first we should pay respect to the ADUPPU/ STOVE, so we keep all the three items in three small banana leaves on the sides of the ADUPPU.
• Paal Pongal – 1 scoop
• Sugarcane – 2 sticks
• Banana – 3/5
• Fresh curd – ¼ cup
• Sakari pongal – 1 scoop
Procedure (differs from family to family)
• Wash and put kolam/rangoli in a MURAM/Bamboo Thattu and keep aside.
• Wash one THALAI VAZHA ILAI/ Banana Leaf Head and place over the Muram and place the scoopful of PAAL PONGAL on one side and make one dent in the center of the PAAL PONGAL and pour some fresh CURD on the pongal and place the peeled bananas on the sides of the rice (shown in the pic)
• Add one scoop of SAKARAI PONGAL on the other side of the banana leaf and place two sugarcane sticks.
• Now lit 2 KUTHU Vilakku along with KAMATCHI AMMAN vilaku followed by SAMBRANI, AGARBATHI and KARPOORAM
• Take the MURAM by the FAMILY elder WOMAN followed by, take vilakku by other family members and show to SUN GOD. We usually do this 3 times and we perform the KARPOORA AARATHI.
• Finally the prasadham is served to everyone.
//this is purely my family tradition, you kindly check with your family elders//
• Those who don’t have MURAM, use any clean unused plate.
• Usually the kolam will be drawn from RICE FLOUR, if you don’t have you can use as per the availability.
Maatu Pongal is celebrated on the second day of pongal and this pongal is celebrated in the name of COWS. We regard CATTLE as a source of wealth for providing DAIRY PRODUCTS, FERTILIZERS and LABOUR for PLOWING and TRANSPORTATION.
On this day CATTLES are afforded affectionately and decorate them with SPECIAL Garlands, MANJAL NEER (turmeric water), paint their horns, apply kunkumam on their FOREHEAD and feed them VEN PONGAL, BANANA and other fruits.
On the evening they do special pooja and ride the CATTLES until the border of the villages.
Feature of this day includes “JALLIKATTU”, KABADI etc..
• On MAATU Pongal, PAAL pongal and SAKARAI Pongal can be served.
The last and third day of the pongal is KAANUM PONGAL, KAANUM means “TO VISIT”. Many families hold reunion on this day, brothers pay special tribute to their married sisters.
A ritual is performed on this day for their sibilings, where the leftover pongal and other food are set out in the courtyard over a turmeric leaf along with beetal leaves, nuts and sugarcane. This ritual varies from community to community.
• On this day, people usually make variety rice.