The Slow Poison, Ven Pongal or Kara Pongal is one of the primitive South Indian food. It is prepared with rice & moong dal, either to a sweet or savoury dish. Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is the name given to the savoury version. It is offered to the GODS or diety as naivedyam not only in South Indian homes but also in temples, during regular pooja, auspicious days & festivals.
Both versions of Pongal are offered to Goddess Durga & Lakshmi during Navratri, Varalakshmi puja and even on regular days. Basically, Ven Pongal is a south Indian version of the Dal khichdi. For many South Indians, it is a portion of comfort food as it is quick to prepare and is light on the stomach. It can be prepared quickly for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pongal is protein-packed, tastes delicious with a good aroma of ghee and seasoned ingredients. It takes less than 30 minutes to make along with chutney. It tastes best when served hot or warm.
OK! Coming to my story after boasting about Ghee Pongal or Kara Pongal. Days back, I really love the Kara Pongal or Ghee Pongal or Ven Pongal, (hereinafter referred as Pongal), to the core without any deviations. Not all the places are my favourite for the Pongal, with few exceptional locations like Saravana Bhavan, Adyar Anada Bhavan or such where it goes well with a bit of coconut chutney, a bit of mint chutney and a medhu vada, OMG, when you can imagine it, definitely it would be mouth dripping. Apart from those hotels, I love the home prepared Pongal to the core, usually, it not accompanied with so many chutneys or Medhu Vada, but the Pongal served at my home is bit special, with my mom concerned about the usage of Ghee, Pepper and others.
Recently, when I visited my home, apparently I trespassed certain locations violating the LOC assuming I am a Chief Chef forgetting that I am Chief at my office and not anywhere else. I found a few conspiracies from my mom’s kitchen. I found something being used beyond the Best Before Date. I was shocked, and it is all women’s activity of saving things for the future without consuming it on time and my mom isn’t exceptional on this. When I dug, she convinced me by saying nothing will happen if we consume the products expired in a month or so.
It was a serious Health & Safety issue. How do I explain the consequences to her? It took some time for me to elucidate her that my body doesn’t accept the expired products or others. She nodded her head to avoid a further lecture from me. A week went by, when I was searching for something else, I happened to find a cashew nuts box. That was the Kirkland Cashews from the United States of America which I bought to India during my June 2019 visit where one of my friends got them early in the morning through his friends and sent me off to San Francisco Airport like Padikathavan Rajinikanth sending off his brother. I remembered it had a short validity as the preservatives, kind off would be added along with it before it is being boxed.
This cashew is my favourite as well as my German Sheperd, Turbo’s favourite. In a view of saving them from both of us, my mom kept in her reserve. During my recent visit in September 2020, I thought of demanding the Pongal from my mom as it had been some time. But after when I saw this cashew nuts box which had its Best Before Date as March 2020, I stepped back. Kept my mouth shut, didn’t even spill a word about Pongal to my mom until the last day when I was about to depart back. When I confiscated it from the hidden deck, found small outgrown living being inside the box. My mom is also very smart, she presumed that I don’t know about those and she started cooking them diligently. Inevitably am her son, I evaded those meals by saying that I am having something out and blah blah. When I was forced, I started the separation process of Cashew Nuts from regular food. Still, I am not sure if my separation process was correct or not, but to my level best I did.
After that, it had been almost a month when I am sketching this article, I am still in fear of Pongal, which was one of my all-time favourite food. Today, I happened to visit a temple, where they offered me the Pongal which was a Prasadham, still, the fear of expired Cashew nuts was running in my mind forefront. Not all the human are same, everyone has their own allergies, The key ingredients of a Pongal are cashews, curry leaves, coriander, ghee and pepper. There should be no compromise on it.
Maybe until this fear of serving expired product runs out of my mind, I may avoid Ven Pongal or Kara Pongal 🙁