Ven Pongal is a traditional South Indian dish. After idli and dosa, pongal is one of the most common dish for breakfast. Ven pongal is also made during the Pongal festival and served as a neivedhyam in temples. Pongal tastes best when served piping hot with kathrikkai (brinjal) gothsu. Coconut chutney and sambar also goes well with pongal.
The main ingredients of ven pongal are raw rice and split yellow lentil which are cooked until mushy. It is then tempered in ghee with pepper, cashews, cumin seeds and ginger. The only tricky part in making pongal is getting the right consistency. It should neither be watery nor dry. Ghee adds to the taste and soft texture of the pongal, so do not skip on the ghee. Also the quality of rice and the amount of water should be right to get the correct consistency.
Making pongal is really easy and can be put together very quickly. Though I have never been fond of pongal much before, I have started liking it now. After few trials and errors, I have perfected the secret of making good pongal. So here is my version of ven pongal, also known as khara pongal (spicy pongal).
VEN PONGAL / GHEE PONGAL / KHARA PONGAL RECIPE
1 cup raw rice
¼ cup + 1 tbsp yellow moong dal / paasi paruppu
5-6 black peppercorn
½ tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
2-3 tbsp ghee
2 tsp black peppercorn
6-7 cashewnuts, halved
1 tsp grated ginger
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1. Wash the rice and dal together. Drain them well and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pressure cooker pan and add the peppercorn. Fry for a minute and add the ginger. Fry for few seconds.
3. Add the washed rice, dal and salt. Fry them for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add 4 cups of water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles or until mushy.
4. Once the pressure releases, open the cooker and mash the rice and dal well.
5. Heat ghee in a small pan and add peppercorn. Once it starts to splutter add cashewnuts and fry till golden. Then add ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida and jeera.
6. Pour this into the pongal and combine well. Serve hot.
1. Roasting the rice and dal and adding ginger and peppercorn while cooking the rice and dal gives a nice flavor and aroma, so do not skip it.
2. If pongal turns out watery, then cook it in the open pan for some more time till water evaporates.
3. If you do not like to bite into full peppercorns, you can crush them coarsely and add them.
4. The standard ratio of rice : water is 1:4, but the quantity of water depends upon the quality of rice.
5. You can reduce the quantity of ghee and substitute with oil for a low calorie pongal.