Happy Pongal / Sankranthi / Bihu / Lohri to all who celebrate!
I really enjoy celebrating traditional festivals and have been very particular about them for the past few years. Being a Malayalee, my main focus has always been on Vishu and Onam but over the years I have adopted Pongal, Ganesh Chathurthi, Diwali, Christmas, and other occasions on the way. I love these festivals and holidays mainly because I associate them with food (I KNOW I am not alone here); I cannot deny that the compliments I get for my Vishu Kani and the pookalams give a whole different high too.
Isn’t it interesting how every festival or holiday, Indian or not, is associated with certain dishes? Sakkarai pongal for Pongal, gujjiya and thandai for Holi, paal payasam for Janmashtami, turkey for Thanksgiving, plum cakes for Christmas etc. Being foodies, Mr. P and I enjoy celebrating every special occasion, be it the ones we grew up with or the ones we have adopted. And we are glad that all our friends are like us too because that makes it easier for us to celebrate together. As a matter of fact, if things were OK, there is a high chance that we would have gathered today to celebrate Pongal. But the current spike in COVID cases caused us to postpone the get-together by a few weeks. But whether we celebrate on the day of or a few weeks later doesn’t really matter, because once the situation is better, we’ll still gather around and eat good food :-).
I’ve been talking about food and celebrations since the beginning and even if you aren’t expecting a recipe by this time, I will be sharing one. I made Rava/Semolina Kanji (porridge) for the very first time for Vaikuntha Ekadashi (celebrated on Jan 13th, this year) and loved it. Now you’re probably thinking, “This girl has been talking nonstop about sakkarai pongal, plum cakes, and payasam and finally gives a recipe for a boring porridge, how’s that fair?” In my defense, a dish that can look like this cannot be boring… trust me.
Though this was my first attempt at making rava kanji, it will definitely not be my last. Just FYI, I used a super fine variety of semolina and found that the final texture was silky smooth. And by the way, making plain, everyday dishes such as rava kanji look oh so fancy is my superpower, what’s yours?
Rava Porridge (kanji) – Sweet & Savory Versions
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- Lightly roasted rava/semolina – 1/2 cup
- Water – 1.5-2 cups
- Milk – 1-1.5 cups
- Jaggery or sugar to taste (for sweet version)
- Cardamom powder – a pinch (for sweet version)
- Chopped nuts (optional for sweet version)
- Cumin-Pepper powder – 2 tsps (for savory version)
- Salt to taste (for savory version)
- Boil the water in a saucepan.
- Add the roasted rava to it and stir continuously to form a smooth mixture (it will thicken as the rava cooks, so add more water accordingly).
- Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes or until the rava is fully cooked.
- Now add the milk and stir again. Check consistency and add more milk or water as required.
- Cook for about 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
- For the sweet version, add the jaggery/sugar, cardamom powder, and chopped nuts. Serve hot or chilled (I haven’t tried it chilled, but I can imagine the taste ;-))
- For savory version, add the cumin-pepper powder and salt. Mix well and serve hot.
Until I write again, cherish your traditions, cook good food, create new memories, find your superpowers, and continue staying safe through the current worldwide surge!