Traditionally during Pongal festival two types of pongal are made as offering to the Sun God. One is the ever famous 'Sarkarai pongal' and the other one is the plain and simple 'Pal Pongal' - rice cooked in simmering milk.
This Pongal kuzhambhu is made to be served as a side dish to the delicious 'Pal Pongal'. Its basically made with lentils and all the seasonal and locally available vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, drumstick, green mochai, avarakkai, brinjal , vazhaikai (green plantain ) etc., It looks more like a sambhar but the consistency is more thick and taste is quite different.
I make this kuzhambhu every year, but this time made it a couple of days earlier to post it in the blog.
Recipe for 'Pal Pongal'
Soak 1 cup of raw rice for ½ hour. Boil 2 cups of water and 2 cups of full cream milk in a cooking vessel. When it starts simmering, add the rice to it and cook on a medium flame until the rice is almost cooked. Add 1 cup of shredded coconut and a little salt. Mix well and cook until it is done.
Recipe for 'Pongal Kuzhambhu'
Tamarind- a small orange size
Chopped tomatoes-1 cup
Avaraikkai- a handful [cut into halves]
Red pumpkin- a handful [cut into 1” pieces]
Sweet potato- 2 handfuls [cut into cubes]
Brinjal- 1 handful [cut into medium pieces]
Raw banana-1 [cut into cubes]
Green mochaikkai-1 cup
Coriander powder-2 tbsp
Shredded coconut- 1/2 cup
Curry leaves- a handfulChopped coriander leaves-a handful
To make the powder:
Boiled rice- 2 tblsp
Raw rice-1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Fennel seeds-1 tsp
Cook the lentils in a cooker.
Soak the tamarind in warm water and then extract the juice after ½ hour.
Dry roast the boiled rice, raw rice, cumin seeds, peppercorns and fennel seeds to a nice brown colour and powder them finely.
Add the chopped tomatoes, avaraikkai, red pumpkin pieces, sweet potatoes pieces, brinjal pieces, raw banana cubes and the mochaikkai in a cooking vessel and add enough water to cover it. Cook them with enough salt the turmeric powder.
When the vegetables are half done, add the tamarind juice, the chilli powder and the coriander powder or use equal proportion of sambhar powder.
After cooking them for some minutes add the dhal and again cook for a few minutes.
Now add the powder, the coriander leaves , curry leaves and the shredded coconut.
Cook under low heat for 5 minutes.
Let it sit atleast 30 mins before serving, for the flavors to mature.
Serve with pal pongal or hot steaming rice
I have mentioned the ideal vegetables traditionally used in the recipe, but except the pumpkin the choice is all yours.
The original recipe does not call for seasoning(so its a fat free recipe too), but I did some tempering with mustard to give an extra flavour
Wish you all a very Happy Pongal !