4 Quick Recipes for Makar Sankranti, Lohri, and Pongal

January 9, 2015 4 Quick Recipes for Makar Sankranti, Lohri, and Ponga @TheRoyaleIndia 1720 0 0

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Come January and most Hindu households begin preparations for Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Lohri. Known to fall on 14th January, from this day onwards the days become longer and nights shorter while the temperature rises slightly and you begin to feel warmer too.

Beginning of the Uttarayan period as the sun moves more Northwards and also on this day the sun passes from the Tropic of Capricorn i.e. ‘Makar’ hence this day is termed as Makar Sankranti.

As with each festival celebration, on this occasion sankranti payasam, til laddus, gajak, rewri and many more are prepared and savoured in their traditional style. Simple and easy to make, try out a few of these recipes at home too. There’s no better way than food to keep up with our festivals and traditions and they are best enjoyed with family and friends ….

Til Laddus

Till laddu @TheRoyaleIndia

In Mahrashtra, Makar Sankranti is celebrated by exchanging sweet til laddus wishing each other with “Til gud ghya, god god bola”. Refer to our very easy and simple to prepare til laddu recipe –

  • 1 cup sesame seeds or til (polished variety)

  • 3/4th cup jaggery or molasses

  • 1 ½ tbsp ghee or clarified butter

  • Few groundnuts crushed (optional)

  • Dry roast sesame seeds till they turn brown. Keep aside for cooling

  • Heat the ghee in the pan

  • Add the jaggery to the melted ghee stirring it continuously on a slow flame

  • Take some jaggery and drop it into the cold water, the jaggery should form into a hard ball

  • Take it off the flame and add the roasted sesame seeds and peanuts into the pan and mix it thoroughly

  • While the mixture is warm, you need to shape them into balls of equal size

  • Apply little ghee on your palms for making laddus from the mixture

Variation – you can make peanut laddus in the same manner but remember to use roasted peanuts which are peeled and unsalted.

Sankranti Pongali

Sankranti Pongal @TheRoyaleIndia

In Andhra Pradesh, this festival is known as Pongal and celebrated for four days. Sankranti pongal is prepared in traditional style and savoured. For making this sweet dish, freshly harvested rice is preferred. This rice and milk Payasam is naturally a gourmet’s delight and requires minimal cooking effort.

  • 1 litre low fat milk

  • 2 cups low fat cream

  • 25 gms rich (just harvested)

  • 5 tbsps of jaggery

  • Cardamom powder

  • Heat a heavy bottom vessel, boil the milk and cream mixture well till it boils

  • Add the rice and stir continuously to prevent the rice from sticking at the bottom

  • Also, keep scraping the milk from the sides of the vessel

  • Keep boiling the milk till it is reduced to the 1/4th of its original quantity

  • Check whether the rice is fully cooked

  • If done, then switch off the heat and add the jaggery in the milk

  • Keep stirring the milk till the jaggery has mixed well

  • Add cardamom powder as garnishing and serve in clay pot preferably

Try to use uncooked new rice for making the payasam. You can use cooked rice to make payasam but then the taste of the payasam could be compromised.

Let’s move northwards to state of Punjab, where Lohri is celebrated in full vigour. With the Lohri fire lit in the evening accompanied by Punjabi folklore music and dance, you are bound to get ravenously hungry too. Prepare these two traditional Punjabi dishes and serve them to your guests, a mini meal of sorts when you serve Punjabi Pakodewali Kadhi with rice and sweet but nutritious Gajak.


Til Gajak @TheRoyaleIndia

Made and enjoyed predominantly in northern India, Gajak is easy to prepare. Instead of round balls, the sesame and jaggery paste is rolled out into thin sheets.

  • 1 cup sesame seeds

  • 3/4th cup jaggery

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tbsp of ghee

  • ½ tsp cardamom powder

  • Roast sesame seeds in pan on low heat till they turn crisp and brown. Leave them to cool

  • Pound them slightly

  • Mix jaggery and water and heat the mixture on low flame to make syrup

  • Once the syrup is well formed, mix the pounded sesame seeds into it and mix well

  • Grease your rolling board or your kitchen top with oil

  • Spread the roasted sesame and jaggery mix on the greased area

  • Use the rolling pin to flatten the mixture evenly and as thin as possible

  • Leave it for cooling and when cooled cut into square pieces of equal sizes.

Pakodewali Kadhi

punjabi pakodewali kadhi @TheRoyaleIndia

A spicy Punjabi dish to balance the sweet recipes we have listed above could be a good idea. Onion fritters in tempered yogurt based curry will surely spice up your meal in the chilly winters. Best had with piping hot rice accompanied by fried or roasted poppadums or papads.

  • 1 cup gram flour or besan

  • 1 onion finely chopped

  • ¼ cup chopped fenugreek leaves

  • ½ piece grated ginger

  • ½ teaspoon carom seeds or ajwain

  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Oil for frying

  • Put the gram flour in the mixing bowl

  • Add rest of the ingredients – chopped onions, fenugreek leaves, grated ginger, chili powder, grated ginger, carom seeds and salt and mix well

  • Add water slowly and mix well to form a batter of dropping consistency

  • Heat oil in a frying pan

  • When sufficiently hot, drop in small portions of batter and deep fry till the onion fritters or pakodas turn golden brown

  • Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside

  • 2 cups curd – fresh or slightly sour

  • ½ cup besan or gram flour

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 tbps oil for tempering

  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds – methi

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds – jeera

  • 2 – 3 dried red chillies broken

  • ½ piece ginger –finely chopped

  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the curd well

  • Add yogurt and whisk it further till smooth

  • Add turmeric powder, salt and 3 cups of water and blend it well

  • In a kadhai, heat two tbsps of oil and add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies till they splutter

  • Add grated ginger and sauté well for 2 minutes

  • Stir in the yogurt mix and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 mins, stirring it occasionally

  • Before serving, add the chilli powder, fried onion fritters and simmer for a few minutes

  • Serve with steaming hot rice.

Have a great time not only cooking these traditional Sankranti recipes but also savoring them with family and friends, as a part of your celebrations this Makar Sankranti.

Also Read :

This Diwali – Cook Saffron Brulee And Pistachio Shortbread

Here’s How to Prepare Yomari


Categories: Food and Drinks