Pongal | How to Make Khara Pongal or Ven Pongal

Pongal | How to Make Khara Pongal or Ven Pongal
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 25 minutes
  • Serves 4

One may greatly relish extravagant and sumptuous meals outside of home, but at the end of the day, all of us crave for a plateful of our favourite comfort food. And the traditional South Indian Pongal is perhaps the best example of simple yet unparalleled comfort food.

Pongal is a South Indian porridge/ mashed food made from rice and lentils. It is the South Indian version of the popular khichdi made in North India. In fact, according to scholar Andrea Gutierrez (as quoted by Wikipedia), this preparation has had a festive and religious significance in South India since at least the Chola period. Pongal has both sweet and savoury versions. Ven Pongal is the savoury version of this preparation. Both the sweet and savoury versions are made for festive occasions, as an offering to Gods / neivedhyam in temples as well as at homes. It is also often made as a quick breakfast or light lunch or dinner as it is a popular type of comfort food. It is rich in proteins and nutrients and is considered as a nourishing food for small kids as well as elderly.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup split green gram/ moong dal
  • 1 cup raw rice 
  • Peppercorns whole 1 tsp
  • Peppercorns to be crushed 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp  and 1/2 tsp in tempering
  • Green chillies 1
  • Curry leaves few
  • Asafoetida / hing 1/4 tsp
  • Cashew nuts 1 tbsp
  • Ginger – 1-inch piece, sliced
  • Ghee 4 tbsp
  • Salt

How to Prepare Pongal:

  • Roast both rice and moong dal on low flame. After roasting this way for 2 minutes,  add 1 tsp ghee. Roast for 1 more minute. Now we have roasted for a total of 3 minutes on a low flame. Roasting brings out a unique flavor to the pongal.
  • Pour 9 cups water in a pressure cooker for the 1 cup rice plus 1/2 cup moong dal that we roasted. This means that the proportion of rice + lentils to water is 1:6. That is for a total of 1 cup of rice plus lentils you will need 6 cups of water. 
  • Add 1 tsp cumin seeds and whole black peppercorns to the water.
  • Add the dal and rice that we roasted after washing and draining. 
  • Add the sliced green chilli and salt. 
  • Put the lid and weight on the cooker and allow 2 to 3 whistles.
  • For tempering heat ghee in a skillet
  • Add cumin seeds, cashew nuts, finely chopped ginger, hing ,curry leaves freshly coarsely crushed peppercorns.  Add the pressure cooked rice and salt to this tempering and mix well. Switch off the flame.
  • A good venn pongal means rice should be well mashed and not visible.
  • Serve hot pongal with gothsu or sambar or chutney 

Note:

  • You can make this preparation in a pot if you do not want to use the pressure cooker.
  • Do not skimp on the quantity of ghee. Do not skip ghee and add oil. Ghee brings out an awesome aroma and flavor and also makes pongal less sticky and enhances its texture.
  • Pongal can be made with an equal quantity of rice and dal too if you want to increase the protein intake or prefer more dal in the pongal.


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