Sankranthi special: Five easy-to-make festive recipes from Hyderabad's top chefs

In the Telugu states, the festival is celebrated for three days — Bhogi, Sankranthi and Kanuma.

author_img Paulami Sen and A Harini Prasad Published :  09th January 2020 05:39 PM   |   Published :   |  09th January 2020 05:39 PM
Chakkara Pongal

Chakkara Pongal. Picture by Vinay Madapu

As we approach the first harvest of the new decade, we hop on a bullock cart back in time to the villages of yore, sugarcane stalks in tow — to remember where it all began. Jumping colourful muggus, skidding through giddy scenes of music and dance and stopping squarely centre stage, in front of that clay pot that floweth over tradition, we look back at traditional recipes that have been passed on from generations. But before we head out, here are a few thoughts to lead the route. A return to roots has set the tone for where we source our produce, for much of the past ten years — whether you look at buzzwords like organic vegetables or farm to fork. So even though Sankranthi is a few days away, you might say, we’ve been reaping a wholesome harvest for a while now. As a matter of fact, stepping into rural landscapes is simply a reminder of what is already deeply ‘ingrained’ with the Sankranthi tradition — celebrate your yield, gather and feast and always, give thanks. 

From marigold flowers and mango leaves that adorn the house to the muggu at the doorstep — it is also a festival of nostalgia. So we aim to keep up with the traditions because sometimes it is worth holding on to. In the Telugu states, the festival is celebrated for three days — Bhogi, Sankranthi and Kanuma. During the Bhogi manta, old and unwanted clothes are burnt to dust, letting go off the past year’s skirmishes, as we usher in the new year with gusto. Then, of course, there’s the kite flying — family and friends gather at the rooftops — the hustle-bustle of getting the manja and charkhis. This is also the time where the air in the house is filled with the aroma of freshly cooked Poornalu (boorelu), bobbatlu (sweet flatbread) topped with a spoonful of ghee and Gongura Mamasam (during Kanuma). Ahead of the festive week, we spoke to a few chefs in Hyderabad to understand how to cook these specialities and make Sankranthi even more memorable.

Poornam Boorelu by executive chef Dipak Adhikary, Mercure Hyderabad KCP
Channa dal 1 cup  | Jaggery 1 ½ cup | Fresh coconut 2 slices | Green cardamom 1 pinch (powder) | Urad dal ¾ cup |Rice 1 ¼ cup | Salt 1 pinch | Oil for frying

●    Boil channa dal till it is well-cooked.
●    Drain all the water when hot and let it dry.
●    Powder it in a grinder.
●    Add jaggery to the channa dal powder and cook till it is thick. 
●    Flavour it with cardamom powder and let it cool.
●    Make small dumplings for batter fry.
●    Put dumplings in batter and deep fry them in hot oil.
●    If the batter is thin, add rice flour. 
●    Garnish with almonds flakes and ghee.

Bobbatlu Flan by executive chef Md Shahid Hossain, Taj Krishna
Yellow lentil (Chana dal) 150 gms | Jaggery 125 gms | Cardamom powder 5 gms
Butter 100 gms  | Icing sugar 50 gms
Refined flour 150 gms | Milk 25 ml
Ghee 50 gms | Fresh cream 100 ml
●    Wash and boil the lentil till soft-cooked and drain excess water.
●    Melt jaggery with a little water over a slow flame. 
●    Add cardamom powder, ghee and mashed lentil and cook for a while.
●    Let the mixture cool down. 
●    Add cream and mix well.

For the crust base
●    Cream the butter and sugar till fluffy. 
●    Add flour, milk and make dough without much kneading.
●    Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

For the flan:
●    Roll the dough over the flan mould.
●    Trim the excess and fill the mixture.
●    Bake it at 180c for 20 minutes till golden brown on top.
●    Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Chakkara Pongal by executive chef Mohit Mishra, Taj Vivanta 
Rice 100 gms | Yellow moong dal 50 gms Jaggery 100 gms | Milk 100 ml  | Water 100 ml  | Dry coconut 10 gms  | Cardamom powder (Elaichi) 2 nos  | Ghee 10 ml | Mixed dry fruits 50 gms
●    Fry the rice and moong dal together in hot ghee until they become aromatic and turn slightly brown.
●    Add them in a pressure cooker. Add milk and water and cook till done. 
●    Meanwhile, heat a kadai with a bit of ghee. 
●    Fry dry fruits till done and keep it aside.
●    Fry dry coconut in ghee in the same kadai for five minutes until it changes colour.
●    Once the rice mix cools down, keep it on stovetop on medium heat and add sugar, cardamom powder and keep stirring it continuously.
●    You can even add edible camphor for additional flavour.
●    Make sure that the sugar melts and the porridge starts thickening in about 10 minutes on medium heat.
●    Once the Pongal has thickened, add the dry fruits and toasted coconut.

Picture by Vinay Madapu

Gongura Mamsam by executive chef Dharmender Lamba, Trident 
Sesame oil 10 ml | Ginger 40 gms | Garlic 60 gms | Onion 300 gms Green Chilli 50 gms | Guntur dry chilli 3-4 nos | Coriander root 50 gms | Gongura leaves 700 gms | Salt 23 gms | Red chilli powder 45 gms | Turmeric 7 gms | Lamb 2 kg | Garam masala 10-15 gms
●    Crush ginger and garlic into a coarse paste.
●    Slice onions and green chillies.
●    Separate the red sorrel leaves after washing it in cold water and dry them on a strainer.
●    Cut tomatoes into big dices.
●    Cut coriander roots into four pieces.
●    Marinate the mutton and keep it aside.
●    Heat oil in a thick bottom pan on medium heat. 
●    Add dry red chillies, onions, green chillies and sauté them.
●    Add marinated lamb, and cook on medium heat until the moisture dries up and the oil separates. 
●    Stir slowly to prevent the mutton from sticking to the base for 15-20 minutes.
●    Once oil separates, add turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
●    Cook for five minutes. 
●    Add hot water and close the lid for 30 minutes.
●    Uncover and add gongura leaves and coriander roots.
●    Cook until the lamb is soft and leaves forms a puree for the gravy.
●    Finish the dish with some garam masala.

Chilakadadhumpa Jeedi Pappu Mudha by sous chef Nagesh Ganjaye, Novotel Hyderabad Airport
Sweet potato 300 gms | Onion 100 gms Green chilli 50 gms | Curry leaves 10 gms Refined oil 50 ml | Ghee 30 ml |Mustard seed 10 gms | Fennel seed 5 gms | Urad dal 10 gms | Cashew nuts 20 gms | Red whole chilli 2 nos | Chilli flacks for taste | Turmeric 5 gms | Coriander powder 10 gms | Salt for taste | Pepper powder for taste | Chopped coriander 20 gms
●    Take a pan and boil diced sweet potato. Strain it. 
●    Take another pan and heat ghee
●    Add mustard and fennel seeds, urad dal, green chilli, curry leaves and onions. 
●    Then sauté for a minute. 
●    Add boiled sweet potatoes. 
●    Add rest of the ingredients one by one and keep stirring. 
●    Finish with chopped fresh coriander.

(With inputs from Sonali Shenoy.)