When we hear the term Pongal, what basically comes to our mind is the pale yellow Pongal with cumin seeds and pepper and curry leaves. But there are many more varieties of Pongal that are commonly prepared, and they taste absolutely fantastic that you will revel in joy tasting them!
Here, let us look at the common varieties of Pongal in the following list:
The Regular Pongal
It is prepared with Pongal Rice and Moong Dal. For this, the rice and dal are soaked for at least half an hour. The two are then cooked together with salt and asafetida with precise amount of water to make the two into a fine, smashed consistency. At last, pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves, ginger and cashew nuts are roasted in ghee and added to the Pongal into a fine, flavorful mix! This is usually served with Coconut Chutney and Vadai! That makes a fulfilling breakfast that is also nutritious.
Sweet Pongal or Chakkarai Pongal
Though the name refers to Sugar, often times, jaggery is added to prepare this type of Pongal. It is a sweetened form of the Pongal where the base ingredients remain the same: rice and moong dal. As aforesaid, rice and dal are soaked for half an hour and cooked until they are partially smashed. To this, jaggery and cardamom powder are added, and ghee roasted cashews and raisins are added to give it a nice tangy flavor! This dish is often prepared for special occasions and celebrations. This is offered at temples on special days.
On the other hand, there are people, especially in village locale where Pongal is prepared with sugar itself. In a few traditions, you can see real white sweet Pongal without the use of jaggery and only with white sugar and cardamom powder.
Rava Pongal is a tasty, and quick-make recipe unlike the regular Pongal. While we cook rice and dal together for the regular Pongal, here for Rava Pongal, Rava or Semolina is cooked separately and the moong dal is cooked separately. The two are then mixed together and tempered with cumin seeds, pepper corns, salt and cashew nuts.
Kovil Pongal or Temple Pongal
Temple Pongal has an exclusive taste which we often find it tough to achieve at home. The consistency and texture is completely smooth and easy to swallow! It is particularly made with crushed pepper in most temples rather than using whole pepper.
Thinai or Foxtail millet is a very healthy millet variety for diabetics. This is prepared in the same way as we do the regular Pongal. Thinai rice and moong dal are pressure cooked together and tempered with the Pongal ingredients. This is healthy and nutritious for everyone. It is also ideal for children.
When we talk about Pongal, we cannot miss out on talking about its best accompaniment. The best is Pongal sambar made with Brinjal, tomatoes and onions, and coconut chutney and Medhu Vadai! Guess, your taste buds are dancing. Go on and enjoy our Pongal!