A New Year has started, and along with the New Year, new hope and a new beginning. It is also the onset of the spring season, and it is celebrated as Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is also a harvest festival celebrated across the country with different names. Makar Sankranti may be incomplete without the kites covering the sky, but without the yummy and tasty traditional sweet delicacies unique to the harvest festival, Makar Sankranti cannot even commence.
Sublime, has curated the recipes of some of the most loved traditional dishes, with which you can celebrate a holistic Sankranti.
Sankranti is a harvest festival, celebrating the harvesting of paddy across the country. Therefore no celebration of this particular festival can be complete without the staple rice. Sankranti, also known as Pongal is a major festival in the southern states of India as well and is celebrated by traditionally preparing yummy and tasty Pongal. Usually, available as a spicy dish, or a sweet dish, Pongal is served as the most important dish for the day in southern states. It is a dish for which the base ingredients are: Rice, Yellow Petite Lentils (Moong Dal) and Jaggery. The sweet dish is made rich with a generous serving of dry fruits.
Rice, Moong dal, Jaggery, Cardamom, Clove, Cashews, Raisins, Almonds
- Take ½ cup rice and ⅓ cup of Yellow Petite Lentils, and clean them. Heat a small pan and add both the rice and lentils. Roast them until they are faintly aromatic. Do not roast until brown.
- Take the roasted mix in another bowl or strainer, rinse them a couple of times with water. Add this mix in a pressure cooker. Pour 3 cups water. The amount of water you add, depends on the consistency you prefer and the quality of the lentils. Now, pressure cook on medium heat for 11 to 12 minutes or for 8 to 9 whistles.
- Meanwhile, crush seeds of 5 green cardamoms and 1 clove in a mortar pestle.
- Chop or grate 115 to 120 grams of organic jaggery. Take ½ cup water in a pan, and add chopped jaggery to it. Heat it on a medium flame until the jaggery melts completely. Allow the jaggery to boil and form small bubbles.
- As the jaggery is getting ready, the rice and lentils should be ready. When the pressure settles, remove the lid. Check to see if the rice and lentils have softened nicely and look mushy. Make sure that both, the rice and lentils are cooked very well.
- Use a spoon to slightly mash them together. If cooked well, then cover with the lid and set aside.
- Add the jaggery syrup to the cooked rice and lentils mixture. Now, add the crushed cardamom and clove powder. Mix everything and allow it to cool down. The Pongal thickens as it cools.
- Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of clarified butter, or ghee. Add 12 to 15 chopped almonds and cashews to the hot ghee, and fry until golden brown. Add one tablespoon of raisins as well. Fry until the raisins swell up.
- Add the fried dry fruits to the ready Pongal, and mix well.
An Eastern variation of the Pongal, Nolen-Gurer Payesh is a Bengali delicacy you cannot miss out on. It is an easy-to-prepare dish but requires time and attention. To make Nolen-Gurer Payesh usually along with rice, date palm jaggery is used, which itself is sufficient for adding flavours to the dish, but adding a dash of cardamom powder enhances the taste and makes it that much better.
Basmati rice, full fat milk, chopped dates palm jaggery, Indian bay leaf, cardamom powder (freshly ground), cashews, almonds, pistachios and raisins.
- Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice, and soak the rice in enough water for 20 minutes.
- Chop date palm jaggery and keep it aside.
- Heat the milk in a thick base kadai or pan on a low flame. Keep stirring the milk occasionally in order to ensure the milk doesn’t burn. Allow the milk to come to a boil. Then continue to heat the milk on a low flame for 8 to 10 minutes more, while continuing to stir the milk. Notice that the milk starts to reduce.
- Drain all the water from the rice and add it to the milk. Add a small tej patta and ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder. Mix it well, and let the rice cook. As the rice grains get cooked, the milk will also thicken and reduce more. Therefore it is important to stir often, or the rice could stick to the pan.
- Once the rice grains are softened, bring it off the flame. Then add 2 tablespoons cut cashews, almonds, and pistachios and 1 tablespoon raisins. Mix very well.
- Now add the cut or grated dates palm jaggery little by little to the hot mix of rice and milk. Mix the jaggery well and allow it to melt and dissolve.
You can either serve the dish warm or chilled. It makes for a yummy sweet dish to soothe your mood.
Another dish made of milk, Basundi is a popular dessert common in West India. It is actually similar to Rabdi, with a slightly thinner consistency and a smoother flow. Makar Sankranti is a very popular festival in the west as well and is incomplete without kite flying, or Basundi.
Condensed Milk; Whole Milk; Dry fruits; Saffron
- First, add a can of condensed milk to a thick-bottomed saucepan or kadai. Now, add two cups of whole milk. Mix them well together, until the thick condensed milk and the whole milk get an even consistency.
- If the mixture is not mixed evenly, it could burn the condensed milk. Now that you have mixed the milk well with the condensed milk, heat the milk on a low flame for 20-30 minutes, occasionally stirring the mixture in between.
- As it cooks, use a rubber spatula or wooden spatula to scrape the sides of the pan and stir the milk solids back into the basundi mixture.
- Meanwhile, chop the almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios. Set them aside.
- As the mixture continues to thicken, continue to cook, until the consistency is slightly thick, creamy, and smooth. Once you get the right consistency, take it off the flame, and add the dry fruits into the mixture, and mix it well.
- Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg powder, a pinch of freshly ground cardomom powder, and a tablespoon of cuddapah almonds (Chironji seeds). Add a generous pinch of saffron (10-12 strands), and mix them well.
- Basundi tastes best chilled, almost like the desi version of homemade ice cream.
Kheer is one of the most common recipes in India, and is prepared across the country with multiple variations. But almost no Indian celebration is complete without a cup of the mouthwatering delicacy – Kheer. It is probably one of the easiest recipes out there, and there are enough and more variations of how you can prepare your Kheer, but, the Rice kheer is a popular dessert in the northern states, for Makar Sankranti.
Basmati Rice, Whole Milk, Saffron strands, Sugar, Cardamom powder, Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios
- Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice and soak it in water for 15 to 20 minutes. While the rice is soaking, take 1 litre of whole milk in a thick saucepan, and heat it on medium flame. Stir at intervals so that the milk does not burn. Allow the milk to come to a boil.
- Keep aside a tablespoon of milk, and to this milk, add 6-8 saffron strands.
- To the boiling milk, add the soaked rice and mix well with a spoon. Allow the rice to cook on low flame. No need to cover the pan when the rice is cooking.
- Cook the rice until it is half-cooked, now add 5 to 6 tablespoons sugar, and mix the sugar in the milk. Continue to cook rice on low to medium-low heat, and keep stirring it at regular intervals.
- When the kheer is almost ready, ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder. Add 1 tablespoon each of blanched and chopped almonds, cashews and pistachios. At last, add saffron milk for the colour.
Serve it chilled, and enjoy the delicious kheer around the festive bonfire.
Til Gud ke Ladoo
Last, but definitely not the least, the Makar Sankranti celebrations are incomplete without binging on some healthy and tasty Til-Gud ke Ladoo. The tiny ladoos made of Sesame seeds and jaggery are not only tasty, but also super healthy, and a great recipe to keep you warm in the winters. With this simple recipe, you can prepare the ladoos in less than an hour.
White sesame seeds; raw peanuts; desiccated coconut; jaggery powder; cardamom powder
- Heat a thick-bottomed pan, on medium flame and later, add 1 cup of unpolished white sesame seeds. Roast the sesame seeds until they become crunchy or you hear a crackling and popping sound. Once done, take the sesame seeds off the flame and allow them to cool down.
- Meanwhile, in the same pan, add 1/4 cup peanuts and roast until they become crunchy. Ensure that the peanuts are roasted well.
- Once done, allow the peanuts to cool down, and add 1/4 cup desiccated coconut in the pan, and turn off the flame. Allow the desiccated coconut to roast with the heat trapped in the pan. Roast until it turns lightly golden. And allow it to cool down for a bit.
- Now add all the roasted ingredients to a grinder jar. Add 1/2 cup powdered jaggery and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder, and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder.
- Check to ensure that the mixture isn’t crumbling off, and is able to hold a round shape.
- Once you have the right consistency, place the mixture on a tray and make small ladoos.
These ladoos can be stored in air-tight jars and can be enjoyed as and when you like!
Get all the spices and dry fruits you need to prepare the yummy delicacies for the harvest festival, from Sublime. All products at Sublime are sourced directly from the growers, in small batches, ensuring the freshness of each product. Sublime brings to you only the finest quality indigenous harvest, and premium quality flavours. Order your favourite products online, or visit our stores at, UB City, The Courtyard By Sublime, Falcon Café, Prestige Golfshire Club, and Toastina at Shereton.