Wishing a Happy Pongal to all my Readers!
Guess, everyone ate enough of "Sakkrai Pongal" (sweet rice) yesterday! A four days celebration starting with bhogi: first day of Pongal- people worship/Thank Lord Indiran ( God of rain) who gave enough rain through out the year to give bounty of harvest. People clean their house and collect unwanted items and throw in fire. But not to mention , people throw from plastic to unusual items which form a thick smoke and pollute the air!
Thai Pongal: the first day of Tamil month "Thai madam", first crop of rice prepared into sweet rice and with plain milk (Paal Pongal) cooked in earthen pot in open air :Vaasal = courtyard, a place in home where the sun rays come directly. Lack in modern architected home- Pongal pannai moved to stove top!
The third Day: "Mattu (cow) Pongal" - Cows get pampered, get washed, horns painted, decorated with garland/flowers/bell around the neck, are taken around the city or village in the evening. One of the tradition, which slowly disappearing in city, reason none own a cow in modern city :(
The evening, we commemorate those who passed away in the family. We prepare all non-vegetarian items and offer to them. One of the special item featured is the Sakkara valli Kizhangu ( Japanese yam) cooked , mashed and dipped in flour batter and deep fried. Japanese Yam belongs to the tuber family and have a white flesh but sweet naturally (like sweet potato)! Only available around this month- It is prepared in any form: sambar, fry or sweet!
The fourth day: Kannum Pongal, known as Kaarinal in my place. We visit elders and get blessings! They offer money ! The most enjoyed is this last day of Pongal, from morning to evening, we collect all money and night everyone count how much we got it! In those days, hundred rupees was an huge amount and remember thinking how to spend it!
Sad part, people who live miles away from home, miss all this valuable moments. I do have those sweet memories to recollect but the generation living here? In one word: Unlucky!
One of my family custom to make this Sakkara valli Sweet and "remember the elders" especially today. Ok, the recipe is quiet simple, u can really modify according ur taste.
U don't even need to deep fry, it taste great with little sugar and coconut!
Sakkra Valli Kizhangu Sweet -Japanese yam sweet balls
Sugar: Only one 1 tsp I used (please increase according ur taste)
Green cardamom: 4 powdered
Grated coconut: 2 tbsp
Pressure cook until 3 whistles, peel the skin and mash it. Once cooled, add the sugar, cardamom powder and coconut and mix well. Form small balls.
AP flour: 1/2 cup
Salt: a pinch
Oil: to deep fry
Mix the flour and salt with enough water, batter should be thick (like bajji batter)
Dip the yam balls in batter and deep fry in hot oil.
Offer to God or serve hot at room temperature.