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Pongal is a sweet rice preparation made with rice and milk. It is usually made during the Harvest festival of Sankrant. In South India, Sankrant is known by the name of "Pongal". In Karnataka, the festival is called 'Sankranti', and cows and bullocks are gaily decorated and fed 'Pongal'- a sweet preparation of rice. Special prayers are offered in the temples and houses. In the evening, the cattle are led out in procession to the beat of drums and music. In the night a bonfire is lit and the animals are made to jump over the fire.

It is a big event for the people of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Telugus like to call it 'Pedda Panduga' meaning big festival. The whole event lasts for four days, the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti, the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma.

1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup condensed milk
5 Tbs jaggery/gud
1/th tsp clove powder
1/th tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp ghee or butter
1 Tbsp cashew nuts, chopped
1 Tbsp raisins
3 cups water

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Heat the ghee in a pan, fry cashews and raisins till golden brown. Keep aside. In a separate pan, wash rice well and cook in water till soft. When the rice is done and the water is almost evaporated, add the jaggery and condensed milk and reduce the flame. When almost dry,
add clove, cardamom powder, raisins and nuts and mix well. Serve hot.


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