As traditional as it gets this paal pongal is THE MOST popular dishes made during pongal festival. Traditionally it’s made from fresh harvested rice. Farmers offers thanks to the nature for the bountiful rice harvest they do on a particular month called “Thai Maasam” and in the form of festival. Rice cooked in cow’s milk and a bit of salt, ghee and fried cashews is all needed for this paal pongal.
Pongal –the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu which also marks the first day of Tamil month called “Thai masam”. This coincides with Makara Sankranthi in North India. Pongal is a Tamil word which means to spill over. Traditionally new harvest rice is cooked in a clay pot which is decorated with colored paint and fresh turmeric is tied to the pot. Rice is cooked in milk and traditionally people let the rice-milk mixture boil and spill over. When the rice started to boil and spill over people gathered there shout the verse “Pongalo Pongal” . Some just boil milk in clay pots, some cook rice in milk. Even now in countryside of Tamil Nadu it is a common site to see people cook their pongal outside the house in traditional wood fire stove and clay pots. Once the rice boils over and gets cooked in milk, it is offered to Surya, the Sun God thanking him as he is the chief energy behind agriculture and a good harvest.
My mom used to cook rice in clay pots but on gas stove(as we could not get a wood fire stove setup in our house) when we were kids. She would make simple Ven Pongal where rice and moong dal(yellow lentils) is cooked in water. But sometimes she even made paal pongal where rice and moong dal is cooked in milk.
Paal pongal usually does not have the tempering we add to ven pongal. You can either make it plain paal pongal with no salt or add sugar to it and make a sweet version. For plain paal pongal, a spicy 7 kari kootu or any other spicy veg curry would be a better accompaniment.
Make this simple paal pongal dish for pongal festival along with 7 kari kootu. Serve it to the Sun god and delish it 😀
- 1 cup raw rice(preferably fresh harvested rice if possible to source)
- 2 tbsp yellow moong dal
- 4 cups water
- 1 ½ cups milk (pure cow's milk preferred)
- 1 tsp ghee
- few cashews
- Rinse and soak rice for about 20 minutes. Dry roast yellow moong dal on low flame until a nice aroma is released from the dal.
- In a pressure cooker add roasted moon dal, rice and water. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Switch off flame and wait until the pressure is released. Open the pressure cooker lid, mash the rice-dal mix well.
- Place the cooker back on stove and add milk in slow streams while stirring. Make sure no lumps are formed. Once all milk is added and it blends well with rice, remove from flame. Remember as the pongal cools, it will turn dry.
- In a small pan heat ghee. Roast cashews until golden brown in ghee. Turn off flame and add the roasted cashews to pongal. Mix.
- Serve with 7-kari kootu
- If you can source fresh harvested rice and pure cow's milk this pongal will be the ultimate one. In cities it's hard to imagine sourcing fresh harvest rice, raw rice like ponni and sona masoori will work.
- I have used water and milk to cook this pongal, you can also use just milk to cook pongal. Use about 5 cups milk.
Looking for more Pongal Recipes? I have picked a few Pongal Special Recipes to help you cook some delicious pongal recipes and enjoy the festival with you family wand friends. :). Click on the title or image to go to the recipe.
6. Paal Payasam
7. Medhu Vada
8. Masala Vada
12. Pudina Pulao