Sakkarai/Sweet Pongal in Sangam Literature


Sangam literature has references to various meats as food, Kolambu, Puli satham (Puliyogare), early versions of Pongal , early version of Biryani and many more food still in vogue.

Here is the specific reference to Sakkarai Pongal /Sweet Pongal in Sangam literature [Around 150-200 AD].

கட்டிப் புழுக்கின் கொங்கர் கோவே!

King of Kongu region who eats rice, lentil cooked with Jaggery! – Pathitrupathu 90 [Around 150-200 AD]

கொதிக்கும் அரிசிப் பருப்புடன் கருப்பட்டி இட்டு உண்ணும் கொங்கு மன்னனே

Poet:Perunkundrūr Kilār

Translated by Palaniappan Vairam Sarathy

கட்டி (p. 648) kaṭṭi கட்டி kaṭṭi, n. < கட்டு-. [T. gaḍḍa, K. gaḍḍe.] 2. Jaggery, coarse palm-sugar; கருப்புக் கட்டி. கட்டியி னரிசியும் (சீவக. 1938). 3. Rock-candy; கற்கண்டு. (பிங்.)

புழுக்கு (p. 2793) puḻukku புழுக்கு2 puḻukku, n. < புழுக்கு-. 1. Boiling grains; அவிக்கை. 2. Well-boiled food; புழுங்கவெந்த வுணவு. கட்டிப் புழுக்கின் (பதிற்றுப். 90, 25). 3. Dhall well-boiled and seasoned; குழையச் சமைத்த பருப்பு. (பெரும்பாண். 195, உரை.) 4. Dhall and rice boiled together; பருப்புச் சோறு. (பெரும்பாண். 195, உரை.)

So what is mentioned in the poem could be either Kalkandu Satham (Katti is Kalkandu/Rock candy and Puzhuku is boiling rice) or Sakkarai Pongal (Katti is jaggery and Puzhuku is boiling rice and lentils).

Chera kingc Ilanchēral Irumporai is addressed as the Kongu king here. Chera kings have captured the Kongu Region. The next of the poem is more interesting,

மட்டப் புகாவின் குட்டுவர் ஏறே

Alcohol – along with food – Kudavar’s (people of Malabar/Kuda Nadu) – Bull/Tiger/Lion

Bull of Malabar people who drinks alochol along with food.

So the Chera King has had Sakkarai Pongal with Toddy. Wondering if Toddy was side or Sakkari pongal was the side dish.


Reference:

Learn Sangam Tamil

University of Madras Tamil Lexicon

Ahananooru – George L Hart translation

Ahananooru in Historical settings – C E Ramachandran

Pathitrupathu – Va.Tha. Ramasubramaniam


 

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