The whole Nation is gearing up to welcome not just the warmth of bonfire with the festival of Lohri but is also ready to celebrate the cheer of Makar Sankranti and joy of Pongal. Lohri is celebrated to mark the end of winters with the arrival of spring and harvest of rabi crops. It is said to be a harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is commonly called as Makara Sankranti and is celebrated in all parts of India from north to south and east to west. Makar Sankranti is more popular in West India and in South it is celebrated as Pongal. Makar Sankranti is the festival of spreading joy with sweets where sesame and jaggery laddoos or chikkis are distributed among all. This festival is associated with peace and prosperity and is regarded as important for spiritual activities practiced by Hindus. People take holy dip in rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Krishna. It is believed that bathing helps wash away sins. Pongal is celebrated in the Southern part of India in order to express gratitude to the farmers, the spirits of nature, the Sun and the farm animals for their role in providing a successful harvest. A sweet dish called Pongal made using rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk is prepared by Tamilians to mark the beginning of the first month of Tamil almanac.
Celebrating these festivals without incorporating the traditional flavours would surely make the joy incomplete. So, lets know some super amazing dishes to be added to your menu list on the day of Makar Sankranti or Pongal-
- Til ladoo- Til ladoo, also known as sesame seeds ladoo are prepared on the day of Makar Sankranti in order to spread joy and happiness. Made with the goodness of sesame seeds and jaggery, it’s a good way to appease your sweet tooth along with getting amazing health benefits. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of calcium and fibre and is great for bone health and osteoporosis. Jaggery being a good source of iron and fibre keeps you warm at the time of winters.
- Ven Pongal- Ven Pongal is a khichdi like dish which is prepared in South India on the day of Pongal. It has a unique flavour with soothing consistency. It is so delicious that even a spoon of it feels like a feast. It is made using yellow moong dal, rice, cumin seeds and cashewnuts to maximize the health benefits. It tastes better if prepared in an earthen pot.
- Dry fruit chikki- It is considered important to make sweets on the festival of Makar Sankranti. Along with ladoos,chikkis also are prepared on this day to spread joy. Dry fruit chikki is one sweet dish which combines a variety of dry fruits and seeds like cashews, pistachios, peanuts and almonds. Nuts being the main ingredient fills you up with good fats like MUFA, PUFA, fibre, magnesium which prevents chronic diseases like diabetes and heart diseases.
- Ezhukari kootu- Ezhukari kootu is an amazing dish made with seven or more vegetables. This recipe is prepared using a variety of spices and condiments to add a special spicy and hot flavour to the dish. Vegetables like beans, pumpkin and sweet potato are great sources of antioxidants, fibre, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and magnesium which promote overall health.
- Payesh- It is a common and well- known dish prepared for the festival of Makar Sankranti. It is a sweet dish made using rice, milk (low fat preferably), cinnamon powder, nuts like almonds, pistachios, jaggery and saffron strands. It is one dish that can satisfy your sugar cravings and provides you with health benefits alongside.
Over to you:
So, lets enjoy these festivals by relishing these super amazing dishes and spreading love and happiness altogether.