Traditional Sankranti Recipes- Part 1

sweet pongal served in an antique brass pan with a side of an antique brass spoon and some ladoo and dark pink and white flowers on a brass plate

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In this segment, we are going to discuss some of the traditional recipes women and elders at home dole out for Sankranti. We will also look at using simple techniques on how the sweets and savory bites can be veganized in a hassle-free manner. So, stay tuned.

Creamy and chewy sweet pongal

For Sankranti, sweet pongal is the most revered and the showstopper dish women make at home. Let us check out the recipe!

Ingredients needed:

  • Moong Dal- yellow roasted one that is available in the market
  • Raw rice- 1 cup
  • Jaggery powder- 2.5 to 3 cups
  • Vegan ghee or plant flavored vanaspati- 1 cup
  • Cashews and Raisins- a handful of it (You can place raw cashews and raisins in a plate)
  • Vegan milk- 2 cups

Method of Preparation:

  • Wash the raw rice and moong dal in running water thoroughly. Drain off the excess water.
  • Now, pressure cook the raw rice and moong dal in a pressure pan for about 5 whistles. You can use 2 cups of almond milk and 2 cups of water to the rice and dal while you aim to pressure cook the same. This way, you can get a rich creamy and chewy taste for your sweet pongal.
  • In the meanwhile, you have a few more preparatory steps to follow up with. Heat the jaggery powder in water. You get a sticky consistency. You must then double filter the jaggery water so as to drain off the impurities. Using organic jaggery is the best bet here.
  • Now, fry cashews and raisins in vegan ghee. Once the dry fruits turn golden brown, you can switch off the stove.
  • Now the rice and lentils would have cooked completely. You can open the pressure pan too. Add a little more water to mash the grains and the moong dal to that of a paste.
  • The next step is to add jaggery water to the mashed rice and lentils.
  • Transfer the contents to a tawa or a medium sized skillet. Now, add the pongal that is mixed with jaggery water. Keep the tawa on medium flame till the excessive water drains off.
  • Add some ghee to the portion. Add fried cashews and raisins to serve hot!

Venn Pongal or Salty version of the pongal

Generally in most Indian households, a sweet dish is always accompanied by a savory bite. Hence, this is the recipe for a salty and spicy version of the Pongal. Let us check out the recipe:

Ingredients Needed:

  • Raw rice- 1 cup
  • Roasted moong dal- 1/4th cup
  • Water- 4 cups
  • Asafoetida or hing powder- 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds, jeera, urad dal seeds- 1 tsp each
  • Salt - 2.5 tablespoons
  • Turmeric- a pinch of it
  • Pepper powder- 1- 1.5 tablespoons (This would give the pongal an added spicy taste)
  • Chillies- 2-3 nicely diced
  • Ginger- finely chopped
  • Curry leaves- 8-10 strands
  • Vegan ghee- Choose Emkay Vegan ghee- 5 tablespoons or ½ a cup
  • Refined oil for sauteing
  • Cashews - 10-15

Method of Preparation:

  • Wash the rice and moong dal well in running water. Add 4 cups of water. Now, immediately pressure cook the contents for about 4-5 times in a high flame.
  • Now is the next step. You must do the tempering bit. Take a medium sized tawa. You can add some ghee or refined oil for sauteing. Add the ingredients one by one. Firstly add mustard seeds, urad dal seeds, and jeera. 

Note: Jeera is also known as carom seeds!

  • Add hing powder, salt, turmeric, pepper powder, curry leaves, diced chilis, and finely chopped ginger gratings to the saute. Let it saute on the skillet for about 3-4 minutes. Switch off the stove.
  • Now, take a smaller tawa. Add some vegan ghee or a plant-flavored vanaspati. Add broken cashews while the ghee heats up. Once the cashews turn golden brown, switch off the stove.
  • While you were doing all of the follow-up steps, the rice and lentils would have beautifully come out in a mashed form. You can also add some water so that the ingredients stay moist. 
  • You can transfer the cooked rice and moong dal to the skillet wherein you had sauteed. Let all the ingredients blend well. Add 5 tablespoons or ½ a cup of vegan ghee so that the pongal separates from the pan.
  • Now garnish the hot pongal with crispy cashews that were deep fried earlier. Salty Pongal can be served best with restaurant style coconut chutney and hot spicy vadas. 


Let me catch up with you all with other traditional varieties of Sankranti recipes in part 2 of this particular segment. Till then, stay tuned!

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