Feast On These 7 Traditional Dishes Made For Pongal
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Feasting during a special occasion is so important for Indians across various cultures that food is deeply influenced by a community’s access to ingredients, seasonality and staple foods. Brought in with much pomp and show, Pongal is an important festival around Tamil Nadu, as a way to mark the harvest season and show gratitude for abundance. On the second day of the four-day festival, also known as Maatu Pongal, a home-cooked feast with many delicacies is usually relished by members of a family and their friends. Here’s a list of some of the traditional dishes to savour on the big day.

Poricha Kuzhambu

Made with a freshly ground coconut and spice paste, this veggie-loaded lentil gravy dish is often paired with rice or dosas. A savoury curry, this hearty delicacy is made with a plethora of seasonal vegetables cooked with creamy lentils and the richness of coconut.


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A tangy-spicy tamarind rice with peanuts, spices and curry leaves is the best kind of lunch to enjoy with some banana chips and yoghurt. Often made as a way to use up leftover rice, the tamarind rice is also one of the preparations that people enjoy eating during the festivities, alongside other variety rice dishes like lemon rice and curd rice.

Kadalai Paruppu Payasam

A creamy and luxurious mixture of chana dal, coconut milk and cashews, this jaggery-based sweet dish is best enjoyed warm. Few variations of the payasam also include sago pearls for a chewy texture that adds to the experience of eating the payasam. Served after a meal as a dessert course, the payasam is scented with cardamom and edible camphor, for a unique flavour.

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Sakkarai Pongal

What is a harvest festival without two of its most important crops – rice and sugarcane – cooked to buttery perfection and relished for dessert! Since newly harvested rice is known to cook into a mush easily, sakkarai pongal was a way of enjoying the bounties of the harvest season in a delicious manner that also fostered a sense of communal spirit.


Made by slow-roasting and powdering Bengal gram, this mildly sweet ladoo is made with minimal ingredients and served with a cup of tea. The maladu is often times is a protein-rich sweet that is fortified with ghee and nuts, making it a nutrient-dense option for anyone who is looking to refrain from over-indulging.

Ulundhu Vadai

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The legendary combination of vadai-pongal continues its journey from being breakfast or a snack, on to the plate of a grand festive meal. A batter made of soaked black gram is mixed with chillies, crushed black pepper and some salt for crispy-fluffy vadas that resemble savoury doughnuts. Dipped in a rasam or sambar concoction, the ulundhu vadai is also used up creatively by soaking it in whisked yoghurt, for a snack.

Kambu Koozh

Made with pearl millet, this simple porridge is consumed for breakfast during the Pongal festivities for nourishment and good health. Said to be a healthy option for children and adults, the nutritional properties of the millet also provide immunity against the changing seasons, keeping the body fit against bacteria or flu.