Healthy, light, easy and loaded with proteins and fiber, this little millet pongal recipe is the healthiest dish you can make for Sankranthi. Cooked with split moong dal, little millet and seasoned with pepper, cumin and a generous hint of ginger – there’s no better way to start your day than with this healthy dish.
Come January, it is the time for harvesting happiness as Makara Sankranthi – the harvest festival falls on either the 14th or 15th of January, every year. It is the time when the winter sun marks the transition of the Sun into its celestial path and begins his northward journey. The traditional Indian calendar is based on lunar positions, Sankranti is a solar event.
This is also the time when all the farmers celebrate their first harvest of the season and offer it to the Gods. It is a way of expressing gratitude for all the good things that have been received.
Of course, Sankranti celebrations and rituals vary from region to region and in Karnataka we celebrate it with a special mixture of yellu ( til), bella (jaggery) that is mixed with roasted and peeled groundnuts, dried coconut and fried gram dal which is just right for the season (winter) to keep the body warm.
Little Millet Pongal
Here’s what little millet looks like when you buy it from the store. I buy mine from the organic farmer’s market that happens once a month near my place. This is an unpolished version of the little millet which has nutrients intact.
Significance of yellu bella during Sankranti:
The til is known to negate all the toxins in our body and the jaggery keeps our body warm, since both these are warmers, the dried coconut is known to have cooling properties which balances the heat. The groundnut of course is for the protein and anti-oxidants. So it is a perfect balance of all the ingredients to keep the body in sync with the season.
I remember the days when I was young and my grandmom would painstakingly cut the jaggery, dried coconut with a scissor specifically designed for cutting them into small chunks. She would lay them on the terrace to sun dry and how we’d sneak into the space to stealthily pop in some jaggery and coconut only to get yelled by her later ha ha ha. Those are the days I really miss the most and the memories still remain afresh. If only we could travel back in time! Phew!
Anyway, coming back to little millet pongal – the general norm at most household is to make pongal with rice and moong dal. However, owing to curb some carbs and eating healthy, we switched to millets 3 years ago. ever since then it has been millets pongal on Sankranthi. Of course, you could make this with red rice/brown rice. But making it with millets keeps you all the more lighter.
Little millet tastes the closest to rice and is not too bland either. It tastes just right and would be the perfect breakfast even on other days or as an option for lunch box.
Why little millet:
- Because it is high on fiber
- Simple to cook
- Helps in weight loss
- Is great for diabetics
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Little Millet Pongal | Saame Pongal Recipe
Healthy, light, easy and loaded with proteins and fiber, this little millet pongal recipe is the healthiest dish you can make for Sankranthi. Cooked with split moong dal, little millet and seasoned with pepper, cumin and a generous hint of ginger - there's no better way to start your day than with this healthy dish.
You can use foxtail millet/ barnyard millet as well instead of little millet if you want to experiment.
You could also try this recipe with brown/red rice instead of millets.