AkkaraAdisil

Srilatha Dessert, South Indian Leave a Comment

Akkara adisil is the quintessential Iyengar dessert, and there are no two opinions about how it should be made – it’s basically rice and moong dal cooked in lots of milk and ghee, and a healthy dose of jaggery or unrefined sugar.
The key to this dish is to cook the rice and dal in a mix of water and milk, preferably whole milk.
Story behind the dish:
Legend goes that Andal (Gotha Devi, the lone female among the 12 Aazhvars) longed to become one with Krishna. She obsereved a nonbu (penance, fast) during the month of Margazhi and offered him neivedhyam every day. On the 27th day, she made this dish, cooked rice and dal in milk, sweetened with jaggery, and dripping with ghee, and offered as neivedhyam. She was granted her wish on this day, which is known as Koodaravalli. Yestreday, our local temple performed Andal Kalyanam, and I had taken this as prasadam.

Venn Pongal

Srilatha South Indian Leave a Comment

Ven pongal (white pongal) is a simple and soothing comfort food. The main ingredients are white rice and split moong dal, with very few spices/seasonings. It is easy to digest and therefore makes a great comfort when you’re sick and craving something warm. It is made during the month of Margazhi/dhanur (roughly mid December- mid Jan) in the early mornings. My memories of school days during this time is going to the temple early in the morning to get the hot prasadam of pongal (sweet and savory).
A point about pongal: If you don’t have fresh ginger, curry leaves, black pepper, cumin, cashews, and ghee, don’t even attempt it because none of these ingredients are optional for a good pongal.