Paal pongal (milk pongal) is usually made on the day of Pongal festival. It is the most basic pongal that is also called as Vellai Pongal as it is completely cooked in milk till mushy.
Newly harvested rice is used to make this pongal in big Vengala Paanai (bronze pot). Paal pongal is always left to boil over from the pot as it is considered auspicious and symbolises prosperity.
After worshipping Sun God with the cooked Paal pongal it is then served to cows which is considered to be the holiest animal in Hindu religion and mythology.
Though we use farm machinery now-a-days, earlier bullocks were used for farming and is considered as a farmer’s best friend because it is impossible to practice agriculture without them in those days.
How is paal pongal served?
In our home the cooked pongal is spread into a circle on a plantain leaf which is used to line a bronze plate and 5 indents are made on that spread.
Each indent is filled with jaggery, ghee, banana roundels, curd and milk which is considered as pure and auspicious.
How is the left over milk pongal served?
There is a lot of leftovers as this is usually made as a huge batch. At night, the left over milk pongal is made into balls and dropped into clay pots filled with water for overnight.
This is to prevent them from spoiling and also to prevent the milk from turning the paal pongal become too sour.
Next day morning, that is on “Maatu Pongal” the extra water is discarded, fresh curd is added to the pongal, and then a simple tempering is prepared.
This tempering is made of mustard seeds, green chilies, minced mango-ginger (maa inji), grated carrot, curry leaves, coriander leaves, poured over the pongal and mixed well.
It is considered inauspicious to waste paal pongal. So any left overs are served to the cows.
Normally paal pongal is cooked entirely in milk, but you can also use combination of water - 100 ml and milk - 150 ml for the below recipe. Buy rice that is specifically sold for pongal.
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Paal Pongal Recipe Card:
PAAL PONGAL - MILK PONGAL
- Raw rice - ½ cup
- Milk - 2-½ cups
- Salt - to taste
If cooking in vengala paanai:
- Add milk in vengala paanai (bronze pot) first and bring it to a boil. Let it boil over, then add washed rice and cook till it half done.
- Add salt and cook it is mushy and sticky. Keep mixing in between with a ladle.