Cardamom gives intense flavor especially when added to sweets. Cardamom is also added to gravies and a few rice varieties as well. I have used cardamom in Pongal, a sweet preparation from south India. Sweet pongal is prepared every year for Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Below is a small note on the Pongal festival of Tamil nadu adapted from Here.
"Pongal is a four-days-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. For as long as people have been planting and gathering food, there has been some form of harvest festival. Pongal, one of the most important popular Hindu festivals of the year. This four-day festival of thanksgiving to nature takes its name from the Tamil word meaning "to boil" and is held in the month of Thai (January-February) during the season when rice and other cereals, sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are harvested.Mid-January is an important time in the Tamil calendar. The harvest festival, Pongal, falls typically on the 14th or the 15th of January and is the quintessential 'Tamil Festival'.
Pongal is a harvest festival, a traditional occasion for giving thanks to nature, for celebrating the life cycles that give us grain. Tamilians say 'Thai pirandhaal vazhi pirakkum', and believe that knotty family problems will be solved with the advent of the Tamil month Thai that begins on Pongal day. This is traditionally the month of weddings. This is not a surprise in a largely agricultural community - the riches gained from a good harvest form the economic basis for expensive family occasions like weddings"
This sweet is perpared in a large container combining rice, a little dal, jaggery and milk and stirred continuously until the content turns to a porridge. It is flavored and garnished with cardamom, nutmeg and cashews. I have prepared this dish in the most easiest way. Here is how I do the sweet pongal.
Raw rice - 1 cup ( I used one cup ravi brand sona masoori rice)
Split moong dal - 1 handful
Jaggery - 2 cups (I used two and half cups brown sugar)
Milk - 2 cups
Water - 1 ½
Evaporated milk - 12 fl oz 1 can (or use 350 ml regular milk)
Saffron strands - 1 pinch
Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon
Ghee fried cashews
Ghee - half cup
Dry roast rice and dal together until the rice turns white.
Immediately transfer it to a vessel that can be kept in pressure cooker.
Add saffron strands, milk and water and give it a stir.
Pressure cook the rice as you would cook the regular rice. The cooked rice should be soft and mushy.
In a wide bottomed heavy kadai, heat the brown sugar with half a cup water.
When the brown sugar/jaggery melts, reduce the heat and add the cooked rice little by little stirring continuously. Mix in the evaporated milk/reguar milk.
Add the cardamom powder, cashews and ghee. Mix until even distribution.
The sweet pongal is ready.
This is my entry to 'Think Spice - Cardamom' hosted by EC of Simple Indian Food. Thanks EC for hosting this event.
This is also my entry to "Recipes for the rest of us" event hosted by Ramki of One page cookbooks.