Sumptuous Pongal Meal On Banana Leaf @ Hotel Swagath, Kolkata ☺

Event: Pongal Meal 2018

Venue: Hotel Swagath, Kolkata

Duration: 12 – 14 Jan 2018

Pongal is a four day long harvest festival dedicated to the Sun God and celebrated to mark the Sun’s transition towards North. It is celebrated world over with great gutso by the Tamilians.

Like any festival in India, Pongal too is incomplete without its extensive range of traditional delicacies.

In Sep 2017, I blogged about Hotel Swagath’s Onam Sadhya meal on my own.

Click this link to view the concerned blog –

In mid Jan 2018, I received the hotel’s official invite to attend their Pongal Meal luncheon and I was too happy to cover another authentic regional food session.

Served on a clean big sized banana leaf and five ‘kachchi mitti’ or clay bowls, the Pongal meal comprised of a total of 18 items!

The items served in the clay bowls were –

Left to right: Tomato Pappu (dal), Milagai Vazhakka Kaya (stir-fried raw bananas), Sambhar, Rasam and Curd Rice.

The items served on the banana leaf were –

Clockwise from top left: Banana Chips, Curry Leaves Thokku (curry leaves chutney), Mango Pickle, Mango Pachdi (mango chutney), Kuzhambu Pulao (pulao mixed with tamarind based gravy), Milagu Pongal (pepper pongal), Beans Poriyal (stir-fried french-beans and coconut), Mixed Vegetable Kootu (semi solid preparation of mixed veggies and lentils), Thoran (raw banana thoran), Avial (assorted vegetables cooked in yoghurt and coconut paste) and Paruppu Vadai (masala vada made of chana dal).

Left to right at the centre: Puran Poli (sweet flat bread made with split chickpeas and jaggery) and Appalam (papad made of peeled black gram flour).

Made sans onion and garlic, all the aforementioned items – were quite distinct in their taste, had a strong presence of mustard seeds and coconut and were relatively light on the stomach.

The spices used in them had been specially couriered from South India and they carried a distinct South Indian but mild flavor. Red chilli, the popular and mandatory spice of North Indian cuisine was almost absent. A couple of fried items like Banana Chips, Paruppu Vadai and Appalam were there, but nothing reeked of extra oil or ghee.

Though the fixed meal was open for extra servings, the number of items were so many that, I didn’t witness anyone on the table going for a second helping of any item.

The staff were courteous and well informed about the name and constituents of each item.

All in all, it was a wonderful regional meal of authentic vegetarian South Indian food items served in a traditional setting.

It needs mentioning that by sauting everything with either onion, garlic, tomato or ginger and cooking them with the overpowering North Indian spices, we tend to greatly change the original taste and texture of most of the vegetables and pulses. The Pongal meal helped me in getting to know some of their original taste!

Hotel Swagath’s usual menu comprises of a host of items from the North Indian and South Indian Cuisine, along with Beverages, Fast Food and some items of the Chinese and Italian Cuisine.

The hotel is also equipped with a sound system enabled 3,500 square feet banquet hall that can accomodate around 300 people.

Price: Rs. 450/- plus tax


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