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Pongal Harvest Festival

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Pongal is a harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God.
It is a four-day festival which normally is celebrated from the 14th till the 17th of January.
This celebration is to give thanks to the sun-god for a successful harvest.
Tradition says that the dishes that are made are supposed to be cooked outside in the rays of the sun.
During this festival, the sweet dishes contain cashews, cardamoms, raisins.
The savory dishes are made in all forms and sizes.

Curd rice 
1 cup boil rice.
2 cups plain yogurt.
2 tbsp. cooking oil.
¼ cup milk.
Finely chopped coriander leaves.
1-2 green chilies, chopped.
1 tsp mustard seeds.
Salt to taste.

In a saucepan heat the cooking oil.
Add the mustard seeds and allow to cook, once the seeds start to pop.
Add the coriander leaves and chopped chilies.
Saute them for a minute.
Remove the pan from the stove and add the rice.
Add the salt and mix.
Just before serving, add the yogurt and mix well

Tamarind Rice
2 cups boiled yellow rice.
1 tsp Rama margarine.
1 onion, finely chopped.
1 tsp jeera seeds.
¼ tsp mustard seeds.
2 tsp methi seeds.
4 dried chilies.
½ tsp turmeric powder.
½ tsp masala.
Few curry leaves.
2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
1 tbsp. tamarind, soaked in ½ x cup boiling water.
3 tbsp. cooking oil.
Salt to taste.
3 tbsp. cooking oil.

Heat the oil and margarine in a pot, over medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic cloves, jeera seeds, mustard seeds, methi seeds, and mustard seeds.
Saute till the onions are transparent.
Add the dry chilies, curry leaves, turmeric powder, and masala.
Mix well, so that everything is coated.
Add the tamarind water and salt.
Allow boiling till the mixture becomes thickish.
Add the cooked rice and mix so that the rice is coated with the sauce.
Carry on cooking until all the water has been absorbed.

Ingredients for the vaddee spices:
1 tsp jeera
3 dry chilies.
2 green chilies.
½ tsp masala.
Grind all these spices together in a mixer.

Ingredients for the vaddee batter:
1 cup channa dhal.
½ cup pea dhal.
1 onion, finely chopped.
1 tbsp. fresh dhania, chopped.
¾ tsp small jeera.
½ tsp baking powder.
¾ tsp salt.
1 mashed, bruised banana.

Soak the two dhal’s together in hot water overnight.
Drain in a colander, but do not pat dry.
Grind the dhal till a slight course and set aside.
Add all the ingredients for the vaddee batter and 3 tsp of the vaddee spices.
Mix everything together nicely till everything is well combined.
Break off a small piece and roll into a ball.
Flatten slightly in the palm of your hand.
Deep fry in hot oil on medium heat until golden brown.
Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel

Prepared, tried, and tested Bobby Swanson


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