The first festival of the year is here-Happy Makara Sankranthi to all.
It is one of the major festivals of Karnataka and also the suggi (harvest festival) for farmers. Throughout India, Sankranthi celebration takes different form and name, with different rituals, customs and activity. Lohiri, Pongal, Uttarayan, Magh bihu, Magh saaji are all different names of same auspicious day when the sun transits into Makara rashi (Capricorn) .
For me this festival is more about ellu-bella (white sesame-jaggery mix) and huggi (Pongal).
A lot of customs and rituals are followed on this day, but I have stuck to just simple preparation of Pongal and readymade ellu-bella.
As a kid, I remember a neighbour of mine would send us a small packet of ellu-bella mixture on this day. I still remember how I picked apart the jaggery and groundnuts gram pieces leaving only sesame seeds for late comers 😉
When I moved to Bangalore Sankranthi festival was lot more than just ellu-bella. Preparation would start a week or 2 before the festival, markets are flooded with sugarcane stacks, ellu-bella mix in varied packets, colourful sugar candies, sugar moulds, small gift items for give away and many others. a lot of women prepare ellu-bella and sakkare acchu (sugar moulds in different shape) at home.
There is a saying in Kannada: ‘ellu bella thindu olle mathadi’, meaning eat ellu bella and speak only good. On this Sankranthi day, ellu-bella mix is exchanged with our near and dear ones, spreading happiness, peace and harmony.
while an array of fresh harvest is cooked and served, Sweet and khara pongal is essentially made.
The recipe of Sweet pongal is shared in this post. I also prepared Khara pongal. Click this link for Khara Pongal recipe. It is a simple and quick preparation that you can definitely try. Apologies for not posting the recipe on time, but better late than never 🙂
As we begin the new year I wish and hope that Sun shines bright and radiates happiness to everyone.
**ellu-bella is a mix of ellu (white sesame seeds), groundnuts, roasted gram, finely cut jaggery and dry coconut pieces.
- 1.Basmathi rice 1/2 cup (any variant will do except dosa/idli rice)
- 2Moong dal 1 tbsp less than1/2 cup
- 3.Ghee 4 tbsp
- 4.Jaggery 1/2 cup
- 5.Cardamom powder 1/5 tsp
- 6.Cashew nuts 4-5
- 7.Raisins 2 tsp.
- 8.Grated coconut 2 tbsp
- Thoroughly Wash rice and moong daal.
- In a cooker heat 2 tsp of ghee, fry rice and moong daal till aromatic. This would take approx 10 minutes on a low flame.
- Add water and pressure cook till the rice is soft and mushy. 1 or 2 whistles extra from your regular cooking.
- Once the pressure subsides gently mash the rice and daal.
- If you like rice to be grainy then need not mash but cook rice really soft.
- Keep aside.
- Take a pan, heat 1/2 cup of water.
- Add jaggery pieces and let it melt.
- Boil the mixture for 2 minutes and switch off the flame. Strain the syrup if needed.
- Mix rice and daal with jaggery syrup. Add cardomom/elaichi powder,coconut and mix.
- In a tadka pan, heat ghee. Lightly fry cashew and raisins and add it to pongal.
- If the pongal consistency is thick add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Heat for 2-4 mins with lid closed.