Ven Pongal is a popular South Indian dish made with rice and moong dal (lentils) and seasoned with spices. It is generally made for morning breakfast or dinner and served with sambar and coconut chutney or the traditional kathirikkai gothsu (eggplant chutney). It is one of the must have and must try items in the restaurant menu. Pongal Vada is the best combination to serve. It is very simple and delicious dish to make for a party or get together. There is another version of pongal which is sweet and known as Sakkarai Pongal, which is offered to the Sun God on the day of Pongal festival along with ven pongal.
Ven Pongal is made with lots of ghee or clarified butter which is delicious and good to have once in a while due to calorie constraints. For those who want to cut out some calories, here is a tip: add a lot of water for cooking the pongal which helps to cut down the ghee and substitute half the ghee with heart healthy oil. Enjoy this comfort food and let me know your comments.
- Rice – 1 cup
- Split moong dal – 1/2 cup
- Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Broken cashew nut – 2 tbsp
- A few curry leaves
- Finely chopped ginger – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Dry roast rice and moong dal in a hot pan for 2 mins until it heat is evenly spread out. Do not let the color change.
- Wash and soak them in water for 15 mins.
- Drain the water and add 6 cups of water to it and salt and pressure cook for 5 to 6 whistles or until it is over cooked and mashed.
- If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can cook it in an electric rice cooker.
- Heat a tbsp of ghee and oil over medium flame and add crushed black pepper, whole cumin seeds, broken cashew nut followed by curry leaves.
- Fry them until cashew becomes golden brown and then add this to the cooked pongal along with the remaining ghee and oil and mix well. Do not over mix since it forms lumps.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambar and coconut chutney or the traditional kathirikkai gothsu (eggplant chutney)