On a beautiful day in Adelaide, where those Laughing Jackasses (ie Kookaburras) kept me company all day, laughing at my seriousness, and where S. P. Balasubramaniam sang Om Namah Sivaya for 1 hour and 15 seconds to calm these jangled nerves, it was also a day of great thanksgiving. Thai Pongal or Sankranti. A Hindu day of rejoicing that the harvest is over and giving thanks to all who provided for such bounty – The Sun, The Rain, The Cows, The Earth, and each other. You can read more about it on A (Life) Time of Cooking:
The major food theme of the main Pongal day is rice – cooked sweet or savoury with mung dal. It is cooked by the bucket load (literally) in many parts. Pongal is similar to kitcheri/kitchadi/kichari, which you might be familiar with.
In The Kitchen: Urad Red Rice Kitcheri and Chili Kaffir Tamarind Tofu
It is Cupboard Cleaning time again, well well overdue, and I am discovering things at the back of cupboards that I had long forgotten. No worries, I am intent on disposing of about 1/3 of my kitchen goods, but oh it is so hard.
Rediscovering a wonderful ceramic oven dish with lid, I decided to cook another rice dish today (after Pongal this morning) and so turned again to the cookbook of my friend Danyse and her Urad and Red Rice Kitcheri which I have always wanted to try. I made it pretty much as she describes, 1 cup Red Rice and 3/4 cup Urad dal, with mustard seed, ginger, turmeric, chilli, ajwain, cumin and asafoetida, dollops of ghee, Indian Bay Leaves. Add lots of water.
Danyse certainly is the Queen of Kitcheri.
I used my favourite Rosa Matta Rice but any red rice or lightish brown rice will do. You could cook it on The Stove or in the Rice Cooker on the slow-cooking setting. But this time I cooked it in The Oven – I used boiling water on the rice and Dal, then cooked in a 125C oven for around 2 hours. Added salt to it, stirred, put the lid back on and let it sit for 20 mins while I made some Chilli Kafir Tamarind Tofu.
I made the tofu pretty much the way she describes, using shoyu sauce of course, and mirim instead of sugar. It was awesome. I topped the tofu with some wilted spinach, and that combo worked very very well.
Then we dined on the balcony with candles in some rediscovered candle holders.
Make. Give thanks. Eat. Enjoy.
- Sankranti (Pongal): A Time to Thank the Earth, Sun, Rain, Cows and Nature: Some Recipes (vegeyum.wordpress.com)
- Tirukannamudhu for Bhogi Pongal | Sweet rice porridge, and a sweet tribute to the Sun God (itsnotmadrasi.blogspot.com)
- Today – January 15, 2012 – is Thai Pongal (hindu-blog.com)
- Chakkarai Pongal, and a very happy Pongal / Sankranti / Bihu to all my readers (itsnotmadrasi.blogspot.com)