Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Chettinad Pongal

This year pongal was entirely different. We were invited to enjoy the pongal celebration by our rotary friend Valli at her inlaws place.

It’s a small village near sivagangai. The village looks much like other villages from outside. Once you enter into the villages, all are very huge chettinad houses. The architecture is awesome. Most houses are locked. But maintained properly.

I am posting the pongal celebrations in this post. Food and other posts to follow.

They made 2 types, one with mud pot another with brass. The one with mud pot is tedious process, so for the next generation they are making it with brass. Still the oldies follow the mud pot one.

First we will see how they prepare pongal with mud pot. 

The previous day they clean all the mud pot and keep it dry.

Then they draw kolams in the mud pot with arisi mavu. This needs lot of patience and interest. It took so much time for the achi to complete the kolam. They take a small stick and tie a piece of cotton cloth around it and use that for painting. Ur city brain may think, y cant we use the ear buds for doing it. When we use that it wont come as perfectly as this.

First they put kolam like shown below with olakkai.

Each family has 2 pots for pongal. One with sweet and another with salt. Apart from this there is a big pot separately for boiling milk alone.

Then heat the empty pongal pots.

At the same time they will  boil the milk (water and milk 1:1) separately and remove the cream (Adai / malai)  from that.

They check the pongal pots are ready by putting little salt in the pots. Immediately the salt should crack, which means the pot is hot enough.

Then one of the family member bring the pot with boiling milk and carefully pour the milk into the pongal pot. The milk rises immediately because of the high heat in the pot. They greet each other for that and sprinkle little water over it and reduce the heat. Now they add the rice and dal and cook it. Finally add the jaggery for sweet pongal and salt for the other pongal.

The brass method is simple. They pour milk and water into the brass pot. Once the milk boils and rises, they sprinkle water and add rice and dal. Once cooked, they add jaggery.

Then they serve it for god by keeping it in plantain leaf along with other vegetables prepared.

When you just wonder what is all these for? We boil milk daily. Most of the days we forget to switch off the stove and milk spills over the stove. So what is special about this in this occasion alone.

This I consider purely for the family unity. Each one has a work allocated and this pongal works only as a teamwork. One has to check the pot, one has to boil milk, one has to take care of children not to walk in between,  like this whole family is occupied and united. Coordination is so important in this. Suddenly I felt I was having an urge to see my family members and called inlaws and greeted them.

Festivals are time of the year, every one in the family must be together and enjoy together.

Happy pongal to all. 

PS: I am a s/w developer, I have experience only in writing technical documents. I have no clue how to write blogs. So kindly adjust.
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