Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Semiya Pongal

Summer is almost here! While driving back from work to home, I noticed the changes around me. Bright and blue sky, chirping birds, fresh green leaves and blooming flowers.. I realized its time to take my summer dresses and strappy sandals out! Its exciting! I can't wait to wear my cute & frilly summer skirts, the fun-filled BBQ parties with friends, bike rides, our adventurous camping trips and the beach days! But I'll surely miss my cozy evenings curled on the couch, sipping a hot bowl of soup right next to the fireplace, my long boots & coats and the beautiful snow. Well, I guess transition is inevitable and I feel "Change" is what makes life more interesting!

One of my favorite things to do in a beautiful spring evening like this, is to have an early dinner and finish it with a warm and mild dessert. Preparing the dessert wil boost up my senses and will keep my enthusiasm going, and ofcourse will satisfy my sugar craving too!

Semiya pongal is another quick and easy sweet-dish, that can be cooked with very few ingredients and can taste utterly delicious. Semiya is an indian type thin noodles but not long and stretchy. They are usually in 1 - 2 inch pieces. In South India, Semiya is commonly used in Payasam and Upma. Though I have tasted Semiya pongal in a few occassions outside, it is not that popular. I recently learnt the recipe for Semiya Pongal through a cookbook and I do make it quite often if I am in a mood for a simple dessert. I love the texture of the soft nooodles combined with jaggery and nuts and I can't help licking my bowl clean everytime. It totally gives me a feeling of a completely satisfying meal.

  • Semiya (Vermicelli) - 1 cup
  • Water - 2.5 cups
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Jaggery (crushed) - 1 cup (you can add more sugar if required)
  • Cardamom pods - 2
  • Ghee - 3 tbsps (You can also use ghee/oil in 50:50 ratio)
  • Cashews - 15
  • Raisins - 8
  • Heat a few drops of ghee in a pan and roast the semiya until golden brown. Set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the remaining ghee/oil and fry the cashews and raisins until the cashews turn brown and the raisins puff up.
  • Add the water, milk, jaggery and sugar (if required) and mix well.
  • Add crushed cardamom pods, Cover and bring to a boil.
  • When it starts boiling (jaggery should be completely dissolved), add the semiya and cover in medium heat for 10 mins or until the semiya is soft and fully cooked.
  • Increase the heat and keep stirring gently (otherwise the semiya might lose shape and become mushy) until the water is completely evaporated.
  • Remove from heat and top it with another tea spoon of ghee.
Serve warm.

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