Unique Pongal Recipes for a Hearty Celebration

What’s the harvest season without a few festival-inspired dishes? These traditional recipes get a delicious makeover with a modern twist. Make them for your loved ones during the Pongal festivities

By Priyanka G Mehta

Unique Pongal Recipes for a Hearty Celebration

The beautiful festival of Pongal marks the end of the winter season and heralds the beginning of spring. It is celebrated in honour of the Sun god, whose blessings are important for a flourishing harvest. The literal meaning of the word ‘Pongal’ is ‘boiling rice with milk.’ Since this is a harvest festival, food plays a significant role in the celebrations, with different types of dishes being prepared on different days of the festival. Children love to take part in the festivities and parents should make it a point to educate their little ones about the significance of the festival.

There are several traditional Pongal recipes, but we have especially come up with some unique recipes that carry the tradition, but with a modern twist. Try these recipes to make your festival even more delightful:

Vegan Pongal Frittata

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rice
  • ¼ cup split yellow moong dal
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped French beans
  • ¼ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Few curry leaves
  • 8-10 cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Wash rice and dal together thoroughly and keep aside
  2. Heat a pressure cooker and add 1 tsp of ghee to it, add half the cumin seeds and let them crackle
  3. Now, cook the rice and dal in the cooker with 1 ½ cups of water, salt and crushed black pepper for up to two whistles.
  4. In another pan, heat rest of the ghee and add cumin seeds and curry leaves. When they crackle, add vegetables and let them cook for a few minutes covered
  5. Add thick coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste to the veggies and mix well, let it cool a bit
  6. Now mix the cooked rice and dal mixture with the cooked vegetables and pour into a prepared baking tray
  7. Decorate with cashews and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-22 minutes, until the top turns golden. Relish with your family.

Sweet Rava Pongal in Mini Chocolate Cups

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rava (semolina)
  • ¼ cup yellow moong dal
  • ¾ cup powdered jaggery
  • Handful of fried cashews
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 100 grams dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in a safe bowl in short spurts of 20-20 seconds
  2. Grease few mini tart moulds (silicon ones serve the purpose well) with butter and pour melted chocolate into them, covering all sides evenly. Rotate the mould in such a way that the inside is fully coated with chocolate.
  3. Freeze for an hour and then take out the chocolate cups from the mould carefully. 
  4. Meanwhile, cook moong dal in the pressure cooker with ¾ cup water for 2 whistles. When cooked, mash well with a ladle and keep aside
  5. Dry roast the rava in a pan until aromatic.
  6. Add 1¼ cup water to it, stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed
  7. Cook for two minutes and then add jaggery powder and mix well
  8. Add cooked moong dal and combine well. Remove from heat and flavour it with cardamom powder. Let it cool
  9. Now put this creamy pongal in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pipe  into the chocolate cups
  10. Decorate with fried cashews and serve

Pongal Kootu Veg Biryani

Unique Pongal Recipes for a Hearty Celebration

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup toor dal
  • 1 chopped potato
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • Few chopped broad beans
  • Few chopped French beans
  • 1 chopped sweet potato
  • 100 grams pumpkin chopped
  • 1 chopped ash gourd
  • 2-4 dry red chillies
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Few curry leaves
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp pepper corns
  • Few cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 mace flower
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup milk
  • Few strands of saffron

Method:

  1. Tie cinnamon stick, dried bay leaves, pepper corns, cloves, star anise, mace flower in a small piece of muslin cloth and keep aside
  2. Wash rice and cook with double the quantity of water, the spice pack and salt.
  3. In a pressure cooker, cook washed toor dal and mash it well
  4. Cook the chopped veggies separately with some water.
  5. In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and add coriander seeds, chana dal, fenugreek seeds and two dry chillies. Fry these till the dal turns golden.
  6. Add grated coconut and roast it till the coconut turns golden brown. Once cooled, grind the ingredients to a fine paste with little water
  7. Add tamarind pulp, cooked toor dal, ground masala paste and salt to the vegetables and mix well. Cook for 4-5 minutes or till the water has evaporated.
  8. In the remaining oil, fry red chillies, asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Put this tempering over the prepared vegetable kootu
  9. In a microwave safe pot, layer the rice followed by the kootu and repeat a few times. Mix saffron with warm milk and pour it over the final layer of rice.
  10. Close the lid of the pot and microwave for a minute. Serve hot. 

Puran Poli Rose Buns

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for kneading the dough
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 cup split chana dal
  • 1 cup grated jaggery
  • Few strands of saffron
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder

Method:

  1. Take flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Knead this into a dough with little warm water for 3-4 minutes and then add soft butter to it. Knead for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Keep the dough covered in a warm place for an hour or until it doubles in size
  4. Meanwhile, wash and boil chana dal. Drain and grind it coarsely
  5. Heat ghee in a pan and add ground chana dal, jaggery, cardamom, saffron, and nutmeg and mix well
  6. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture leaves the sides and forms a ball. Let it cool and then divide in eight equal portions. The puran mixture is ready
  7. Once the dough has doubled, knock out the air from the dough and divide it in eight equal-sized balls.
  8. Roll out each dough ball one by one and mark four diagonal slits, leaving the centre intact.
  9. Put a portion of the puran mixture in the middle and overlap the strips of dough over the mixture in such way that it forms a rose shape. Repeat the process with all the dough balls and the puran mixture.
  10. Bake these in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 25-30 minutes. Brush some melted butter on top and serve hot.

Sakkarai Pongal with Crunchy Peanut Discs

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup peanuts, coarsely ground
  • 1½ cup grated jaggery
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1/3 cup yellow moong dal
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins
  • 8-10 cashews, broken
  • Few dry coconut flakes

Method:

In a pan, heat one cup grated jaggery with 2 tbsp water. Cook for some time till jaggery is smooth but firm, and doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the ground peanuts and mix well

Pour this mixture into a greased plate and spread it carefully. It should be a thin and crispy layer. Mark disc shapes with a cookie cutter while it is getting set.

For the pongal, pressure cook the dal and rice together in adequate water for two whistles.

After cooking, let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid and mash the contents with a ladle.

In another pan, melt ½ cup jaggery with some water and let it cook for few minutes

Strain the jaggery syrup into the pan containing rice and dal, mix well and cook for few minutes

Heat ghee in a pan and roast coconut, raisins and cashews in it. Add the cooked dal and rice mixture and mix this well, the pongal is ready

Serve the sweet dish in bowls and decorate with the peanut chikki.

The author blogs at https://flavoredwithlovebypriyanka.com/ where you can check out more recipes. 

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