From Sakkarai Pongal To Payasam, 5 Traditional Pongal Dishes And Their Significance

Looking to relish some traditional Pongal dishes, here are some that act as an offering to Gods.

by Ankita Mazumdar
From Sakkarai Pongal To Payasam, 5 Traditional Pongal Dishes And Their Significance

Pongal is a colourful festival celebrated by the Tamils. It is a celebration of the harvesting and to thank the major energies of the Sun and nature which helps to contribute to a successful harvest. Pongal marks the beginning of the harvest season and this is celebrated with much vigour and enthusiasm. Pongal is traditional as a festival with its rich customs. This festival is also marked by preparing traditional Pongal dishes. Here are some of them and we talk about their significance as well. 

5 Traditional Pongal Dishes And Their Significance

There are so many Pongal dishes that are prepared with love and newly harvested crops like rice, turmeric, sugarcane and more. Plan to make at least one of these dishes.

1. Sakkarai Pongal

It is a sweet dish made with rice, moong dal, milk, and jaggery and is garnished with a handful of cashews and raisins. It feels like a crossbred between a halwa and kheer yet manages to maintain its identity because of its creamy texture. If you have a sweet tooth, you will 100% love this dessert. 

Sakkarai Pongal’s significance is rather important because this traditional Pongal dish is served to the God Sun. it symbolises the humans showing gratitude towards the bountiful season of harvest this year. Next, it is shared among friends and family to showcase the symbol of love and unity among themselves. Sometimes, Sakkarai Pongal is also served as a prasad in temples. 

2. Payasam

Pongal Payasam is another traditional dish that makes Pongal special! It is a simple dish prepared with rice, milk, and jaggery; another sweet dish. The addition of jaggery is what makes it stand out. After it is prepared you have to let it cool completely, so that you can dig into the thick and creamy payasam with large spoons.

Pongal Payasam’s significance dates back to traditional customs where it was offered to gods to bring more prosperity and blessings to their households. It is also said that serving Pongal Payasam to guests is a symbol of hospitality. While consuming it, is believed to bring happiness and good luck.

3. Vadai

This traditional Pongal dish is a savoury one, unlike the above ones. A popular snack of deep-fried small balls of paste of lentils (urad, moong or chana dal) and spices is a must-have for Pongal. The edges are crispy while the interiors are soft, you can’t resist but have a couple of this hot and delicious vadai. Vadai’s importance is that it is offered to the gods as a traditional Pongal dish alluding to their old customs, therefore it is an integral one.

Also Read: Pongal Special: Here’s How To Make Flavourful Chakkara Pongal Dish At Home

4. Kambu Koozh

Kambu Koozh is a porridge prepared with bajra millets or kambu, turmeric, salt and water. It is high in iron, fiber and minerals. That is why it is considered as healthy and is traditionally eaten during Pongal. Well after all those vadai, Kambu Koozh will get to work. This is considered a breakfast dish during Pongal as it is extremely healthy.

Kambu Koozh’s importance in pongal comes from the fact that it is made solely from the millets, the ones harvested for Pongal. So when Tamils go on to consume the precious kambu millet which signifies prosperity because this millet is known for growing in harsh conditions, yet the outcome is in abundance.

5. Ven Pongal

Another savoury dish that is traditional and is consumed for breakfast during Pongal. The great blend of spices with rice and moong dal, tempered with desi ghee, loads of pepper and cumin seeds. The mere smell of Ven Pongal is enough to make your stomach growl with hunger. It is paired with sambar and chutney; it’s lip-smacking good.

Ven Pongal’s significance goes out to the Sun God because it is considered a traditional food item, shared among loved ones that showcases love and unity. Further, it is made in more extensive quantities because there should be enough for all. This points to the fact that Tamils consider it as a token a prosperity and abundance.

Also Read: 10 Lohri, Makar Sankranti & Pongal Special Dishes & Menus To Try In Mumbai, Delhi And Bangalore

Happy Pongal!

Cover Image Credits: Canva

For more such snackable content, interesting discoveries and the latest updates on food, travel and experiences in your city, download the Curly Tales App. Download HERE.

Good news! We are on WhatsApp! Subscribe to Curly Tales WhatsApp Channel to stay up-to-date with exclusive content and BTS. Join HERE.