Count down to Due date of my Second Blessing

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Pongal with Tomato Sweet Pachadi.

Happy Pongal, பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்,

May the coming year be filled with happiness prosperity and sweetness. Today we had two guests for Lunch. They are tamillian colleagues of my Husband, both are first time NRI’s as in this is their first Pongal away from their familes. I wanted to make Chakkarai pongal and Venpongal, They are pucca veggies by the way, but they had asked for veg biriyani and I was happy to oblige. Here is a click of the full Menu barring the paal payasam which I forgot to take photo.
Pongal Special Friday Lunch

Vegetable Biriyani
Cucumber Green Pachadi
Tomato Sweet Pachadi
Paal Payasam (not in Photo)
I will start with the sweet dish first and go on to the rest in the following posts.

Tomato Sweet Pachadi:
Tomato Sweet Pachadi

This is served in marriages in thirunelveli, tenkasi etc..along with Biriyani to counteract the spiciness of the Biriyani perhaps. I remember trying to keep the sweet pachadi separate from the rest of the savoury stuff on the banana leaf.

When we were in Bangalore, we had a neighbour with two boys around my age (14 or so), they used to eat such that I thought their stomachs have no bottoms, their mother used to make such lovely jams, this reminded me of the tomato jam that Aunty used to make to keep up with her boys apetites. Around fifth or sixth std I had severe jaundice, and so was forbidden to eat any oily food, so everything was either boiled, roasted or steamed, but aunty had a regular supply of jams and such oil free treats for me that I remember that period of time as a treat than a trial. They were from Maharashtra and used to celebrate sankranti, my favorite was the sugar dolls available at that time.
I think I am a very Lucky person to have had such people in my life.
Coming to the topic, this dish requires a little patience but basically an easy dish. For this you need a heavy bottom pan or kadai, a flat ended spoon like a dosai thiruppi what am I doing. Spatula. I was searching for this word in my mind. OK lets go to the ingredients list:

Tomatoes – 6 or 7
One pinch of salt (strictly one pinch or less)
Sugar 1 cup or as per taste
Cardomom Powder – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 1 big stick (Use mara pattai instead of surul pattai explanation follows)
Ghee – 3 tbsps or more
Maida or cornflour 2 tsps
Water 2 tbsp
Juice of half a Lime (Optional)

Wash tomatoes well. Check for any worms etc. Score the tomatoes with a sharp knife as shown in the figure. 
Score Tomatoes with knife as shown above
Steam in a steamer or cover with boiling water for 5 to ten mins. The peel will lift away easily along the scored lines.

Mash the tomatoes. Heat a pan or kadai and add ghee. Add the tomato mash, whole cinnamon stick and simmer on medium heat till thick. Add sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir till sugar dissolves and reduce a little more.Taste and add juice of half a lime for tanginess if required. Mix flour in water and add to the mixture. Take care to stir while adding flour mixture to avoid lumps. The pachadi will get a glossy look at this stage. Add cardamom powder and mix well. It is ready when the mixture leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan and comes together when you pass the spatula through it.  Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

This amount was sufficient for four persons. My daughter didn't like it, but she dosen't like sweets in general, other than chocolate ofcourse, so no matter.

You can add the juice of a small beetroot for a deeper red colour, you can also add cashews fried in ghee, but I usually don’t.

Surul Pattai is cinnamon which come rolled like a mat thinner in texture and more fragile. Mara pattai is bark like and holds well so it is easy to remove before serving. The former is supposed to be more flavourful and has marginally higher medicinal properties. I don’t know. I have to research more on this subject. The latter is more easily available in the Middle east supermarkets.

I must say today’s meal was a success judjing from the compliments recieved from the gentlemen, but I don’t know whether it is because I am a good cook or because the poor men (Forced Bachelors – Family in India for the sake of children’s education) had a home cooked meal after maybe three months for the first time. I think both factors came into play today.

Happy Pongal to everybody.

1 comment:

  1. very useful really good information thanks for posting such a good information it will hepls the people a lot keep it up , Regards,
    chakkara pongal recipe


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...