While festivals like Deepavali and Holi take away the limelight, it is the harvest festival of Sankranthi that truly is close to Telugu people. If you are still wondering about ways to make this four-day celebration exciting and interesting, you’re at the right place. Because there is nothing that spells love like a good meal, cooked by you for your loved ones. So, make the most of the festival and gobble on a hearty meal with your beloved folks. We’ve got some simple and traditional recipes that are authentic to the harvest festival.
Since the two Telugu-speaking states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are heavily dependent on rice crops, it is important to start with our staple food. Puliyohra, for the unversed, is rice, cooked in contrasting flavours of tamarind’s sourness and the pepperiness of local spices.
To make this:
Take a pan on medium heat and add little oil to it to roast – red chillies, Bengal gram, black gram, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds. Once they turn slightly brown, add asafoetida and curry leaves, until the leaves turn golden-brown. Take the pan off, and allow it to cool. Take another bowl with water, and add tamarind to it. Set it aside for some time, and then, squeeze the tamarind to extract a thick paste. To this liquid, add salt, a pinch of sugar, green chillies and oil. Bring it all to a boil, and keep stirring until it reduces in size – to form a thicker paste-like consistency.
Cook rice and spread it in a bowl or plate to cool it down. In the meantime, give the much-needed talimpu, by adding oil, curry leaves, and mustard seeds to a pan before combining the tamarind paste with the roasted ingredients. Finally, mix this paste, spoon by spoon, with the rice. Add more or less paste, depending on whatever suits your taste. Allow the rice to imbibe the flavours over 15 minutes, and then enjoy the lip-smacking dish.
Made in only two steps, Ven Pongal is a popular breakfast dish during the days of Sankranthi.
To make this:
Take a wide pan over medium to high heat, and roast rice and moong dal, separately. Pour them in the same vessel, with a few black peppers, and wash them thoroughly. Add this to a food processor and blend it to form a thick and coarse paste. Take another pan and add oil to it. Next, add some curry leaves, green chillies and the spices you would like to add. Once the curry leaves turn golden-brown, add asafoetida and mix well. Now, add the rice and dal paste to it. Mix it all together, and then add it to the bowl before compressing it. Turn the bowl upside down and serve it piping hot, with sambar or your favourite chutney.
The easiest recipe on the list has to be of Punugulu. It’s easy to cook and fun to make. With minimum ingredients, Pungulu makes for a great tea-time snack.
To make this:
Add chopped onions, green chillies, coriander, curry leaves, cumin seeds and mix well to your regular idli batter. Allow it sit for some time, and prepare your deep-frying pan on high heat. Take a spoonful of the batter and pour it into the oil, in your desired shape and size. Drop a few of these and allow them to turn golden-brown. However, do not overcrowd the pan, or else it would all stick it one another. Take it out on a kitchen towel, so get rid of the excess oil. Use ketchup or your favourite dip and enjoy the tea-time snack.
If you wish to taste Sankranthi in a bowl, serve yourself a bowl of freshly cooked Kalagaya Kura. This curry is made with all the freshly harvested vegetables and is really ‘harvest in a bowl’.
To make this:
Wash well and chop all the fresh veggies you can get your hands on. Take a large vessel and start by adding oil to it. To this, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, allowing them to splutter. Once you hear it, add cumin seeds, urad dal, crushed garlic cloves and curry leaves. Saute it until the dal changes colour to red. Now, add green chillies and chopped onions. Saute this until the onions start to caramelise.
Now is the time to drop it all the veggies of your choice. Give it a good stir before adding salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Lower the flame and place a lid on the vessel, allowing it to simmer for about 10 minutes. Now, take a small bowl, add water and mix it well with jaggery (suitable to your taste). Pour this liquid into the vessel, mix it well and place the lid again, for 15-18 minutes or until the veggies are well-cooked and soft.
Take it off the flame and serve it hot with rice.
Last on the list is one of the most-authentic Telugu dishes – Ariselu. This one is a clear winner and finds its place on the table, on every occasion.
To make this:
After soaking rice overnight in water, strain the water and place it on a dry cloth. Spread it well on the cloth to get rid of any excess water before adding it to a food processor and blending it to achieve a fine powder. Set this aside and take another pan, to which we need to add jaggery to boiling hot water, to get a syrup-like consistency. Add sesame seeds and ghee to this liquid.
To this, add the rice flour and keep mixing to form a thick dough. Now, take small portions of this dough on your palm or a sheet and form a medium-sized Ariselu. Transfer each of it to the deep-frying pan immediately. Pick up the ladle and take another vessel/bowl to squeeze out the excess oil. You can also place it on a paper towel.
Set it aside to cool and store it in an air-tight container. You can enjoy it throughout the day, for a few weeks at the least.
Which recipe do you plan on trying? Let us know in the comments below. Find your festive season entertainment on ZEE5 with Mahesh Babu’s Brahmotsavam.