The Festival of Pongal

By Foodism Team


India is a country that celebrates agriculture like none other! One of the best examples is the festival of Pongal. While similar festivals are celebrated across the country with different names, Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated in the state of Tamil Nadu. On this day the folks worship and give thanks to the sun for the prosperity of their crops.

It’s a four-day festival that usually commences on the 14th day of January every year and is considered an auspicious occasion to start new ventures.

While naming every dish of Pongal is impossible, we have gathered a few favourites of ours right here!

Paal Payasam/ Kheer

The oh so famous recipe for every festival is Kheer ( also known as Paal Payasam). It is a tradition for Punjabis to have Kheer for this festival. Kheer or rice pudding has different variations throughout the country like payasam in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Mistanna or Payesh in West Bengal.

Ingredients of Moong Dal Payasam

  • 200 gms moong dal
  • 4 tbsp desi ghee
  • 4-5 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cups thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Water

How to Make Moong Dal Payasam

  1. Soak moong dal in water. 
  2. Heat some ghee in a pan and add cinnamon and green cardamom. Saute for a minute.
  3. Drain the dal and add it to the cooking mixture. Add water and cook for some time. 
  4. Remove and leave it to cool. Blend the dal to make a thick puree.
  5. Heat ghee in a pan and add the dal paste, sugar, green cardamom powder, coconut milk and milk. 
  6. Cook for some time & serve.

Til Barfi


  • Sesame seeds - 2 cups (300 grams)
  • Jaggery - 1 cup (250 grams)
  • Ghee -1/4 cup (50 grams)
  • Green cardamom - 8 to 10 (coarsely ground)
  • Almonds - 10 to 12 (finely chopped)

Method -

  1. Add ¼ cup (50 grams) ghee in a wok and let it melt. Ghee enhances the taste of barfi but you can make it without ghee as well as per your taste and desire.
  2. Coarsely ground 8 to 10 cardamom seeds. Grease a tray or plate for setting the barfi.

Start with roasting the sesame seeds first. 

  1. Take 2 cups (300 grams) of sesame seeds in a pan. Now stir and continue stirring until the sesame seeds get puffy and little brown in color. Then transfer the roasted sesame seeds in a separate plate. 
  2. Now add jaggery to the melted ghee. Add ¼ cup water to the wok. Let the jaggery simmer until it melts completely. Stir and keep checking at regular intervals. 
  3. Meanwhile, grind the sesame seeds. For this, place the sesame seeds in a mixture jar and grind them a little coarsely.
  4. Now that the jaggery has dissolved completely and the syrup is ready, reduce the flame and mix the ground sesame seeds with the jaggery syrup. Stir to mix up really well. Cook until everything blends into each other. Add cardamom powder to the wok. Now cook the mixture until it gets dense inconsistency.
  5. To set the barfi, Transfer the barfi mixture into the greased tray. Sprinkle the thinly sliced almonds over the mixture to garnish.
  6. After 15 minutes are done, cut down the barfi into desired shape and size. The size of chunks can be small or big as per your preference. Now let the barfi cool down completely and after this separate it from the plate.
  7. To separate out the chunks from the plate, reheat the plate slightly over the flame. Take out the chunks and place them on a plate. 

Til barfi is ready!

Find more recipes on our makar Sankranti blog, click here!