Paal pongal (milk pongal) is usually made on the day of Pongal festival. It is the most basic pongal that is also called as Vellai Pongal as it is completely cooked in milk till mushy.
Newly harvested rice is used to make this pongal in big Vengala Paanai (bronze pot). Paal pongal is always left to boil over from the pot as it is considered auspicious and symbolises prosperity. After worshipping Sun God with the cooked Paal pongal it is then served to cows which is considered to be the holiest animal in Hindu religion and mythology. Though we use farm machinery now-a-days, earlier bullocks were used for farming and is considered as a farmer’s best friend because it is impossible to practice agriculture without them in those days.
In our home the cooked paal pongal is spread into a circle on a plantain leaf which is used to line a bronze plate and 5 indents are made on that spread. Each indent is filled with jaggery, ghee, banana roundels, curd and milk which is considered as pure and auspicious.
- Raw rice – 1/2 cup
- Milk – 2-1/2 cups
- Salt – to taste
If doing in Vengala Paanai:
Add milk in vengala paanai first and bring it to a boil. Let it boil over, then add washed rice and cook till it half done.
Add salt and cook it is mushy and sticky.
Keep mixing in between with a ladle.
If doing in pressure cooker:
Wash rice and add it to the cooker, add milk, salt and mix well.
Cook for 4 to 5 whistles over low flame.
Let the pressure release on its own, open the lid and mash well with a spatula.
Serve with pongal kuzhambu or 7 kari kootu.