Wishing You All A Very Happy Pongal
Harvest Festival is celebrated in different parts of India with different names but it is such a great part of our people. Fresh produce is used to make festive dishes and people take part in various games, they visit temples, visit relatives and friends and this is such a joyous occasion. I remember celebrating Sankranti in Mysore. We used to dress up so nicely and take ellu bella packs to all the neighbours and friends and it used to be so amazing. But nowadays, the getting together is missing so much. I myself confine myself to our home. Without mom, there is no one to talk to and it is becoming so boring nowadays. Guess, this is the side effect of getting old!!
For the past 10 days we are on a strict vegetarian paleo diet and I was confused what to make for pongal. Though we keep the celebration to ourselves, We never miss making pongal and ven pongal on the day. And also we have payasam, vadas and what not. This year, I decided to make some pongal and ven pongal along with sugar free payasam. For pongal I reduced the jaggery quantity to 1/4th and for payasam, I didn’t add any. It is completely sugar free, not even artificial sweeteners.
Milk is in gray zone of paleo diet. If you don’t have any lactose intolerance, you can have it but in minimal quantities. But being a vegetarian, we need proteins and minerals which we are deprived of because of the no meat diet. That is why milk and cheeses are fine for a vegetarian paleo dieter. In fact our morning breakfast is butter tea which is totally made with milk and butter ( will post recipe later) But your diet needs nothing to do with sugar. At first I was so skeptical whether I will survive without sugar in any form other than the fruits. But after 9 days, I don’t even miss sugar. So I made this paneer payasam sugarless and it tasted fine. If you are not into dieting, then add sugar to your taste or add milk maid condensed milk.
Whole Milk (preferably organic) – 2 cups
Paneer – 1/2 cup, crumbled
Ghee – 1 tsp
Almonds – 4-5
Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
In a pan mix together paneer, milk and cardamom powder.
Bring it to boil.
Reduce flame and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from flame.
Heat a small tempering pan and add ghee.
Add chopped almonds and fry until golden.
Remove from flame and allow it to cool a little.
Add it to the prepared payasam and serve it either hot or at room temperature.