How to plan a Pongal / Thai thirunaal party (South Indian Thanksgiving celebrations)?
One cold morning in January I woke up remembering a dream that pepped up my mood for the day. A dream which has my cousins in it. A dream where I was celebrating a festival with my large family. As I got back to brush my teeth, I saw my phone blink. I knew there were few emails. I opened them and began to read one after the other. There was one mail which caught my attention. It was the notice for the foodbuzz 24×24 proposal for the month of January. I was hesitant first but later decided to submit something relevant for this month. I wrote a proposal about pongal, the very first festival for the new year and yay! I got selected for this month’s foodbuzz 24×24 event.
South Indians celebrate pongal (a three day harvest festival) on 14th January of every year. India is an agriculture based country where harvest plays an important role.Once a year, the farmers express their gratitude to the nature (sun and rain) and cattle for the bountiful farming season. Indian version of “Thanksgiving” is the famous festival called “Pongal“. The festival is celebrated for four days.
Day 4: Kannum pongal (Kanum means seeing someone)
On this day, women at home pray for the well being of their brothers and sisters would visit their brothers and their family to offer sweets and savory.
Menu (South Indian Cuisine)
Masala vadai (savoury lentil fritters)
Sakkara pongal (sweetened rice cooked with jaggery and cardamon)
Sambhar with mixed vegetables
Rasam (spicy tomato soup)
Pumpkin sweet curry
Raw Plantain fry
Buttermilk seasoned with spicesDessert
Semiya payasam (vermicilli pudding)
|My son enjoying masala vadai|
We had a wonderful time talking about the festival, how we miss home and the night ended enjoying the wonderful vegetarian meal. Since I shopped for most of the ingredients from the local farmer’s market, I felt that I expressed my thanks for their hardship by buying from them regularly and this thanksgiving celebration has definitely influenced my other friends to go out and enjoy shopping and interacting with the local farmers from the Bay area.
I am sharing one recipe from my elaborate meal. I’ll be posting the recipes for all the other dishes in the days to come.
SPICY PINEAPPLE CURRY
Recipe source: My mother
1 large ripe pineapple – clean, remove skin and cut into chunks
2 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup coconut (dessicated or fresh) – shredded
2 green chillies
1 inch ginger – minced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste
1. Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add turmeric powder, salt and sugar. Stir to combine. Mix in the pineapples and cook covered for 20 minutes, until done.
2. Grind the coconut, ginger and green chillies to a coarse paste without water. Add this paste to the cooked pineapple. Mix well to combine.
3. In a separate pan, heat oil and once they ripple add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the curry leaves and cumin seeds. Pour this over the pineapple and stir well. Let it cook in low flame for another 2 minutes. Remove and switch off the flame.
I want to thank Foodbuzz for giving me the opportunity to share this meal with my friends and now with you all.