Thursday, January 15, 2009

Venn Pongal, Chakkarai Pongal and Ullunda Vadai

Image Credit: Sriram (my hubby)

Sankranthi was one of my favorite festivals as a kid and I spent hours and hours many days prior to and after the festival flying and chasing kites. I have very fond memories of this festival and wish I can go back to Hyderabad for one Sankranthi to relive the excitement. The Sankranthis I celebrate here have been reduced to cooking and eating festive fare. Typical maharashtrian fare for Sankranthi is the Tila Chi Vadi that I have blogged about previously. My husband and sister both enjoy this immensely and it does not survive very long in my pantry when I make it. Typical tamilian food is venn pongal which is a savoury pongal, chakkarai pongal which is a sweet version and ullunda vadai. The credit for these recipes goes to my in laws and the lovely Meenakshi Ammal cookbook that they gifted me. I am sending these recipes to three events -

  1. Venn pongal, chakkarai pongal and ullunda vadai to Festive Food: Makara Sankranthi hosted by Indian Khana
2. Venn Pongal and Chakkarai pongal to Harvest: The Festival of Rice hosted by Bengali Cuisine

3. Venn pongal and vadai to FIC Yellow event hosted by TumYumTreats

Thanks to Asha of foodieshope for pointing me to all these fun events that I could participate in:)

Venn Pongal:


  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Moong dal - 1 cup
  3. Ghee - 1 tbsp
  4. Green chillies - 4 finely chopped
  5. Curry leaves - 10
  6. Cumin/jeera - 1 tsp
  7. Whole black pepper - 1 tsp
  8. Ginger - 1 inch piece finely chopped
  9. Water - 5 cups
  10. Salt
  1. Boil the rice and moong dal with 4 cups of water in pressure cooker until it is soft.
  2. Heat the ghee and add the ginger, green chillies, curry leaves, cumin and black pepper and roast until you can smell all the flavours.
  3. Add the cooked rice and dal and salt and more water (depending on the consistency of the cooked rice and dal) and mix thoroughly.
  4. Allow the mixture to steam and top off with a little more ghee if you like. Enjoy hot with sambhar or gotsu or just as is.

Chakkarai Pongal:

  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Moong dal - 1 cup
  3. Jaggery - 1 cup grated
  4. Elaichi powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Milk - 1 cup
  6. Cashews - 10-15
  7. Ghee - 2 tbsps
  8. Raisins - 10
  1. Boil the rice and moon dal in the pressure cooker.
  2. Heat a pan and boil the cooked rice and moong dal with the milk and some water if required until soft.
  3. Add the jaggery and 1 tbsp ghee and allow it to melt.
  4. Fry the cashews and raisins in ghee and add to the mixture above. Chakkari pongal is ready to be devoured with the vada.

Ullunda Vadai:

  1. Split urad dal - 2 cups
  2. Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
  3. Dried red chillies - 3 finely chopped
  4. Ginger - 1 inch piece finely chopped
  5. Curry leaves - 10 finely chopped
  6. Coconut slivers - 1/2 cup
  7. Salt
  8. Black pepper - 1 tbsp roughly crushed
  9. Oil for deep frying
  1. Soak the urad dal with water for 2 hours and then grind it with very little water and salt to taste.
  2. Add the green chillies, red chillies, ginger, curry leaves, coconut slivers, black pepper to the urad dal batter and mix well.
  3. Wet your palms and place a tbsp of batter on the palm. Use wet hands to pat it flat and make a hole in the center.
  4. Heat oil and drop the vada and deep fry until golden brown. Enjoy hot!!!


Sunshinemom said...

Thank you dear Smitha for entering in the event and thus bringing me over for a dekko:)! These are all my favorites too for the taste and the childhood memories associated with the festival. Meenakshi Ammal's cookbook is a kitchen bible, sometimes difficult to follow but a great guide - I too have all the 4 copies:)

Smita said...

Thank you so much :). I am excited about being part of the event!!!

Vinitha said...

Hey......great post yar...and so happy to see ya participate in different events.....good wishes :)

Asha said...

What a great spread, Smitha. Gave me an idea what to cook from you now! :D

P G Padmanabhan said...

Add little hing (perungayam powder) to the dal and rice before you start cooking. This gives it a unique flavour, very close to the temple pongal

P G Padmanabhan said...

Missed mentioning that the rice and dal can be dry roasted little before cooking

Smita said...

oh yeah hing is a good tip...and i do roast the rice and dal...probably forgot to mention in recipe