Wishing everyone a Happy Pongal, Sankranti and Magh Bihu. May we all have a bumper crop of health, happiness and prosperity !
Thai Maasam – Thai Month
For us Tamilians, today is the start of “Thai Maasam”. Till yesterday it was Margazhi Maasam. We consider the Margazhi month as a month of reflection. Nothing new is started during the month. Its almost like we do a spiritual stock taking ! Andal’s Thiruppavai, a collection of 30 songs in praise of her beloved Krishna are played in most homes. The Chennai music season is aptly named “Margazhi Mahotsavam” as Carnatic music (as is Hindustani) is totally dedicated to spiritual upliftment.
We went for a morning walk after a really long time. Ever since winters have set in, we go for our walk around 11 am when the Sun is out. Today we decided to go early and were treated to a crisp cold morning with slight fog.
Nearly all over India and some of the South East Asian countries that were ruled by the Cholas, Pongal is celebrated. Of course with different names. Makar Sankranti, Magh Bihu etc are the other names in India. All of them are harvest festivals. Our culture is so deeply connected with agriculture that our festivals also celebrate different aspects of farming.
The dish named Pongal is usually made with rice, lentils, some pepper corns and Jeera. With sufficient quantities of ghee its a complete meal by itself. Some form of this khichadi is made in every part of India today. We also make the sweet version where instead of salt, peppercorns and Jeera, we use jaggery and milk to cook the rice and lentils.
For the past few days we have been experimenting with the LCHF diet – Low Carbs High (natural) Fats. Its mostly to give up the carb staples in our food – white rice and wheat flour. So I made the Pongal by substituting rice with shredded cabbage and for the sweet version, I made it with just chana dal (bengal gram). Both tasted awesome ! You really don’t miss the rice. I also made another favourite – Aviyal.
Hope everyone had a great celebration while staying safe !
ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः। सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु। मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥