Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pongal Kad(a)i

After coming to Europe, I never really celebrated desi occasions like Pongal or Karthigai with the appropriate gusto because many times there was no one to share the joy (and food). Since Ashok and I started living together, I have been celebrating everything and cooking everything like crazy to make up for lost time.

Since this is our first pongal after we started living together, I had already made up my mind to celebrate it the proper way. Ashok is usually not very enthu in celebrating such occasions but he does enjoy the food. So when I asked him about the menu, he played along and said lots of ghee, cashews, whole peppercorns (for the ven pongal) and shallot (china vengayam) sambhar to go with it.

The first order of business was to find my pressure cooker which is small, almost dying, with its safety valve long gone. I had to use the cooker twice to boil the rice and dal for the Ven pongal and chakkarai pongal separately since the former is cooked with water and salt, while the latter is cooked with milk. I was worried that it was going to die any minute, but it was surprisingly robust (which is a tribute to Premier) and I even managed to shout ‘’pongalo pongal’’ (not being able to allow pongal to boil over on an induction stove is a major buzz kill…ivalum iva modern appliancesum…cha…cha..thollai thangala)

As much as I love shallot sambar, I hate to peel them - handla shallots =>eyes fulla tearu and infinite patience. Then I realized that I need the paavamana cooker again for boiling dal for the sambhar. So for the third time, the cooker cooked successfully.

After a hearty meal, when Ashok was dozing off, I called Amma and proudly narrated my accomplishments for the day. She listened and finally said – ‘’ellam seri, ana nalaiku dhane pongal’’ !!! After few seconds of shock, I remonstrated ‘’inniku 14th, eppodhum 14th dhane pongal’’…apparently the tamizh calendar decided to give me a mega bulb !$#@!%#$% by pushing pongal to 15th this year.

Mental note to self: Google for thamizh panchangam and add it to favorites

Favorite response to my comedy story (from a friend): Pongala mundiri (kottai) potiya ?!
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