Pongal or Ven Pongal | Khara Pongal | Moong Dal Khichdi | Ghee Pongal is a popular traditional South Indian breakfast delicacy or one pot meal, where rice and dal are cooked together and seasoned with pepper and cumin.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated with Video and replaced with edited pictures for comprehensiveness and freshness.
In South India, Pongal or Sankranthi is a harvest festival celebrated over four days. It is also celebrated in other parts of India with different names. It is like a Thanksgiving occasion to nature. We prepare Pongal or Ven pongal (hot version) and Sweet Pongal or Chakkara pongal (sweet version) on the second day of this festival.
Pongal or Ven Pongal is a traditional South Indian breakfast delicacy, which is a breeze to prepare at home. It is quick and simple with just two steps. Cook rice and dal together and season with spices. You should be generous in using ghee to prepare pongal…Hence the name Ghee Pongal. The flavours of ghee and pepper give a unique taste to the rice dish. Having said that it is simple, I must say it is quite tricky to get the right consistency. It becomes too dry or too watery when done wrong. But I think it will taste great either ways when eaten hot.
For the health conscious people out there, you can avoid ghee and substitute with oil or even reduce oil further, but you should eat it hot otherwise it becomes too dry when cold.
Steps to follow for Pongal or Ven Pongal:
- Dry roast green gram/moong dal and rice separately until it is hot to touch. Do not over fry it.
- Add rice and dal in a bowl along with half a teaspoon of whole black pepper and wash well.
- Pressure cook the above contents with 2 ½ to 3 cups of water for 2 whistles and then simmer for about 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Cook the rice in such a way that it should be mushy like in the picture below. Once the pressure subsides, open the lid of the pressure cooker. Add salt and mash the contents when it is still hot and mix well.
- Heat oil and ghee for the seasoning in a wide pan over medium heat. Add pepper and cumin seeds (you can also slightly crush them to enhance the flavour). Once they splutter add asafoetida and curry leaves.
- Now add the mashed rice and dal mixture to the seasoning and mix well on low heat for about 2 minutes and turn off the heat.
????A different variation of similar rice dish with vegetables is Masala Khichdi, which also is a very filling and a delicious one pot meal.
- ¾ Cup Raw Rice dry roasted
- ¼ Cup Green gram (Split Moong dal) dry roasted
- 2 ½ to 3 Cups Water depending on required consistency
For the seasoning:
- 1 ½ tbsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Ghee clarified butter
- 1 ½ tsp Whole Black Pepper divided
- 1 ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida
- A sprig of Curry leaves.
- Mix dry roasted rice and dal, pressure cook with 2 ½ to 3 cups of water for 2 whistles and then simmer for about 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
- Once the pressure subsides, open the lid of the pressure cooker. Add salt and mash the contents when it is hot and mix well.
- Heat oil and ghee (for the seasoning) in a deep wide pan over medium heat. Add pepper and cumin seeds. Once they splutter add asafoetida and curry leaves. Now add the mashed rice and dal mix to the seasoning and mix well on low heat for 2 minutes and turn off the heat.
- If the Pongal becomes too dry or thick, then add some milk to get the desired consistency. Ensure the rice is cooked before doing this.
- You can enrich the taste of Pongal by adding fried cashews at the end.
- You can pound the cumin and pepper to enhance flavour.
- Adjust pepper quantity to suit your taste. Increase if you would like to have it spicy.
- You can also add a teaspoon of grated ginger to the seasoning to give it a twist.
Many more to come!!…..STAY TUNED!!
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