Also called pukkai, this is always served at the Tamil festival of Thai Pongal, held in mid-January at the time of the rice harvest. Only pure white rice and very fresh milk will do for this Hindu temple offering; the fruit, spices, and sugar make the dish particularly fragrant and worthy of the deity's attention. To husk gram (mung beans), lightly roast in a dry pan, crush with a rolling pin to loosen skins, and toss to separate out kernels. Serve the pongal warm, with fresh mango to refresh the palate. Best spooned onto banana leaves, although bowls will do.
Recipe Ingredient Details:
5 cups fresh whole milk (plus more as necessary)
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/4 cup husked green gram (mung beans; optional)
2 short cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2-3 handfuls chopped dates or raisins
1-2 ripe bananas, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
Place milk, rice, optional gram, cinnamon, and cardamom in a roomy pot. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour or so, until rice is perfectly tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.
Add more hot milk if mixture appears to be drying out. When consistency is thick and gooey, stir in dates or raisins, bananas, and sugar. (Be careful: If sugar is added too soon, rice will remain crunchy.) Remove from heat and let sit for about 20 minutes to allow dried fruit to rehydrate.
Recipe Additional Notes:
Reprinted with permission fromSacred Food: Cooking for Spiritual Nourishmentby Elisabeth Luard (Chicago Review Press, 2001).
Calories 297,Fat 5,Perfat 13,Cholesterol 16,Carbo 58,Protein 8
Mon, 2012-07-09 17:58