Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Aval Sakkarai Pongal(Phova Sweet Khichdi)

"Happy Makara Sankranti/Pongal to all!"
Pongal is for Tamilians just like Khichdi is for Maharastrians. It is made by the Tamilians, especially the Aiyers and Aiyengars adding Moong Daal in different combinations. The savoury pongal is made with rice or rava while the sweet one is made with rice or Aval. Aval is Poha in Hindi, Avalakki in Kannada, Bajil in Tulu and Phovu in Konkani.

Today is Makara Sankranti or the Pongal festival. This day is not complete without making sweet and savoury pongal as the main dishes. We make Sweet Khichdi with moong daal and rice adding jaggery and also with chana daal and broken wheat adding sugar. I was browsing through a fantastic blog by name Padhu's Kitchen in which she has simplified hundreds of vegetarian recipes showing perfectly made South Indian snacks with step by step pictures and method. One dish attracted mny attention. That is Aval Sakkarai Pongal or Poha Sweet Pongal. Now I am used to calling poha as phova and pongal as khichdi since my younger days. I thus take the liberty to call this wonderful snack, Phova Sweet Khichdi.

Though I adapted this recipe from Padhu's Kitchen, it has no mention of added grated coconut in this. So i made slight changes and added coconut. I also didn't roast the raisins in ghee and didn't mash the lentil as mentioned in the original recipe. Thick phova is used here and I like the khichdi slightly dry as compared to typical Tamilian way of making mashed pongal. Serving tips say add little ghee if you want, but I also garnished the sweet dish with banana discs like we add to sweet khichdi, and the combo tasted ultimate! 

This is easy to prepare, takes very less time of just under 30 minutes to make from scratch and tastes much better than pongal/khichdi made with rice. Phova is a processed cereal made from roasted boiled paddy. So it is high in fiber and tastes better than rice. Highly recommended for those who like South Indian sweet dishes with jaggery. Jaggery makes all the difference, rendering the dish exotic!
Thick Aval/Poha - 1/2 cup
Moong daal - 1/4 cup
Grated Jaggery - 1/3 cup
Milk - 2-3 tbsp
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Cashew nut bits - A handful
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp(4 pods peeled and seeds crushed)
Raisins - A handful
Ghee - 25-30 Gms

Dry roast moong daal until you get a nice aroma. 
Cook with little water until tender. 
Keep aside.
Soak aval/phova for 10 minutes or till soft. 
Squeeze out water and keep aside. 
Make sure the aval is soft by tasting it.
Fry cashew nuts until golden and keep aside. 
Melt jaggery in 2-3 tbsp of water, filter it to remove any impurities.
Boil jaggery with 1 tsp of ghee.
When it melts and starts foaming, add the cooked daal. 
Let it cook on medium flame until slightly thick.
Loosen the soaked squeezed aval and add it to the jaggery-daal mixture.
When it sizzles and thickens slightly, add milk(milk is added to moisten the aval) and cook for another 2-3 minutes on slow heat.
Add grated coconut, cashew nuts, raisins, cardamom powder, remaining ghee, mix well and remove from heat.
This pongal tends to dry up as it cools, so remove from heat when it is semi thick in consistency.
Serve hot drizzled with a little ghee, garnished with ripe banana discs.
This can also be served with Rava Pongal like Mysorean combo snack Chow Chow Bhaat.
You can also add thinner variety of aval or phova if you don't get thick one. In that case, just rinse the phova, squeeze and use.

Original recipe link:

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