Pongal 2023: Traditional dishes to relish during this festival

In Tamil Nadu, the harvest season is marked through the Pongal festival. The second of the four-day celebrations, Thai Pongal, which falls on the first day of the Tamil Solar Calendar's 'Thai' month, coincides with Makar Sankranti, which is observed in the country's north.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: As the harvest season draws near, preparations are afoot to celebrate it through the Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, and Bihu festivities. In Tamil Nadu, the harvest season is marked through the Pongal festival. The second of the four-day celebrations, Thai Pongal, which falls on the first day of the Tamil Solar Calendar's 'Thai' month, coincides with Makar Sankranti, which is observed in the country's north. Thai Pongal falls on January 15 this year, on a Sunday. This celebration is synonymous with lip-smacking dishes that are made at this time of year. From sweet to savoury dishes, here are the top 5 traditional dishes to celebrate this festival:

Sakkarai Pongal

HP

Sakkarai, a sweet Pongal, is prepared for the ceremonial bhog on Thai Pongal's major day. Rice, milk, ghee, and jaggery are used to make a soft dish resembling halwa that is then topped with dry fruits and nuts for crunch. In Tamil, the word 'Pong' means to flow over. Thus, it is customary to simmer this Pongal until it boils and slightly overflows.

Medu Vada

The crunchy, bite-sized fried delicacy is a staple in south India and is prepared especially for the Pongal festival.

Ven Pongal 

Ven Pongal, also known as Khara Pongal, is a savoury variation of Sakkarai Pongal in which moong dal and a few spices are used in place of milk and jaggery. It complements sambhar and chutney with the finest.

Avial Curry 

Avial is a Pongal favourite due to its combination of various vegetables and creamy coconut. Avial curry is also served during Onam celebrations.

Paal Payasam 

A Pongal feast would be incomplete without the sweet finale of Paal payasam. The kheer-like dessert is made with a creamy mixture of rice, milk, ghee, sugar, and nuts.

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