This is a yearly festival which falls sometime in late Feb or early March. Ladies from all over the state come and make an offering of pongala to the goddess. You can read about this more here and check out some well captured pictures here.
For me, this is also a time to catch up with two of my old room mates. The three of us try to make it at least every alternative year, if not every year. Our conversation is usually limited to a few standard statements. “My fire is running out, let me light from yours” or “my eyes are burning” or “when will the water boil?” or “do you think it’s burning?”, but it’s still comforting to be with them and do this together whenever we can.
Making the pongala is like going back in time, before the cooking gas or kerosene stove entered the kitchen. You will be cooking in a clay pot (a new one), you will make a stove out of bricks and use dried leaves Of the coconut tree as fuel for the fire.
Even the ingredients are usually not measured using glasses and all. It’s again the old method of ‘boil the water, add the rice’ kind. Now a days, you even get Pongala kit, which consists of half kilo rice, some jaggery and ghee and nuts.
When you put the rice in the pot, you ask for the Godess’s blessing. There is a magnetic pull to participate every year.
- Raw rice : 1/2 kg
- Jaggery : 1 big ball, powdered
- Ghee : 200 gm
- Banana : 2 small
- Cardamom : 1/2 tsp
- Cashews,raisins : 1-2 tbsp each
- Coconut : 1/2 cup, optional
- The first task is getting the fire going on. Once that is done, fill the pot with water until its half full.
- Wash the rice and when the water comes to a boil, add the rice. Let the rice cook. You will have to stir in between. You can add some ghee also.
- Once the rice is cooked and the water boils and spills over, add the jaggery. Mix and then add all the other ingredients. Stir frequently till its cooked. Stop feeding the fire once the payasam is almost done.
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