The clock was ticking and with the passage of each day, I was getting nervous that I still had not found a recipe for RCI-Tamil Festivals, hosted by Viji of Vcuisine. I had promised her that I would not disappoint her, and every time I saw her post her entry for the event, I knew that it was high time I did something. So I started going through a lot of websites and blogs related to Tamil cuisine. I also searched Viji's blog for some recipes and realized that a lot of them were already posted for the event. Finally, I came across a couple of recipes that I liked and which I had never tried before. The final choice was made by hubby dear, which made my work easier, or else I would have spent another week trying to decide which one to make, and then I wouldn't have made it in time (not a very good thing) ;)
The recipe that I finally made is called 'Aval Sarkkarai Pongal' and I have taken this recipe from Menu Today. Pongal is a Tamil festival that is celebrated four days and generally falls in the month of January and it marks the favorable course of the sun. We know this as Makar Sankrant. More about Pongal here and here. Traditionally, Sarkkarai Pongal is made on the second day of Pongal known as 'Surya Pongal'. The word 'Ponga' means 'boil' and so 'Pongal' means 'that which is overflowing'. This dish is offered to the Sun God as thanks giving for the plentiful harvest. Sarkkarai Pongal is normally made with newly harvested rice and moong dal. Check the recipe here. The recipe that I tried involved Aval or Poha and that got me interested in it. It is very easy and quick to make and the texture of the Poha goes so well with the combo. I made my own variations to the original recipe and I made this for Dassera as neivadyam. This is going straight to Viji for RCI-Tamil Festivals.
1 cup Thin Poha (Flattened rice)
3/4 cup Jaggery (grated)
A few pineapple chunks (i used frozen pineapple cubes that I got from Trader's Joe)
1 tsp Tup (ghee)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/8 tsp kesar (saffron)
Grated coconut for garnish (optional)
Wash the Poha twice and then drain the water. In a kadhai, heat the ghee and fry the cashews. Remove and keep aside. Now to this kadhai, add the jaggery (The original recipe asks to soak the jaggery in water and then use the strained water. But I skipped this step and directly added the grated jaggery to the kadhai.) Let the jaggery melt and form into a thick syrup. Once you have the syrup, add the pineapple cubes to it and cook for a few minutes. Next, add the washed and drained poha. Mix well. I mashed the poha a little with the back of the ladle. Finally add the cardamom powder, kesar and fried cashews to the mixture. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot!
The Verdict: This is a keeper recipe. The color of this dish is so enticing and the combo of jaggery and poha along with pineapple is heavenly!
Coming up: Something with Peach! :)