January 13, 2009


During all those growing up years, I sneered at this dish. I developed a taste and even started loving its Gujarati cousin, khichdi. But Pongal was not something I liked. I could tolerate it with copious amounts of green coconut chutney. Wait, there was this one dish with which I think I may have even bordered on the “looking forward to this breakfast number”. Katrikkai Gojju (Gotsu) with chana dal. I somehow don’t make pongal that much and thanks to my logic of pairing stuff, I haven’t made the gojju either. Soon, soon.

It is that time of the year. The trio of festivals, Bhogi, Pongal and Kaanum Pongal, is here. Today is Bhogi. Had I been at home, I’d have eaten a typical “pandigai saapadu”. Mor kuzhambu, yelai paruppu, rasam, vadai and payasam. I ate a pasta salad for lunch today and maybe I’ll make up for it at dinner time.

Pongal or Venn Pongal (Venn = White) is a very popular breakfast dish across Tamilnadu. I am certain that you get this dish in Karnataka and AP as well, but considering how enthused I could ever be about eating Pongal for breakfast at a restaurant (where there are nicer things like dosas), I just probably haven’t noticed this. And as always, there are ways and ways of making this dish. This is the way I make it simply because this is the way I’ve always seen it made.

1 cup Rice
1/3 cup Moong Dal
1 tsp Peppercorns
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Asafoetida
1 tbsp Ghee
2 tsp Cashews
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the rice, moong dal, peppercorns and cumin seeds together with 4-5 cups of water, until the rice is soft and mushy. When done, mash well with a spoon and add the salt, asafoetida and half the ghee. In a frying ladle, heat the remaining ghee and fry the cashews until they turn light brown. Add this to the rice mixture. Serve hot with some sambar, chutney or katrikkai gojju.

This dish also forms the base for the entire Pongal lunch. Do come back tomorrow to see the traditional Pongal lunch we had each year while I was growing up. Happy Bhogi!

P.S. The round up of the Think Spice Think Carom will be up on the blog very soon. Sorry for the delay.


Asha said...

I prefer this khara to sweet one, looks so yummy! Happy Pongal to you! :))

Curry Leaf said...

HAPPY PONGAL.I too like khicdi and yes am developing a likeness to pongal.I still do not make it often.

Nags said...

in my to-do list this weekend :) happy pongal!

Maya said...

I have developed a taste for the khara pongal very recently, infact, I like it a lot now, but the sweet pongal, I don't..

aquadaze said...

Oh I dont care too much for the khara pongal. But the sweet pongal MIL makes, that I can't have enough of!

Cham said...

Other than dosa, I eat only pongal ! Happy Pongal :)

Deepa said...

Hello! Thanks for the perfect pongal recipe. I plan to make this, sakkarai pongal, mor kuzhambu, paruppu usili, and carrot kosumbari tomorrow. Arnav's working on a rangoli of Surya, and I am trying to hunt down som e"karumbu" (sugarcae)! Happy pongal! --Deepa

Namratha said...

Wishing you a very Happy Pongal Raaga! :) No pongal for me today either, I don't like it!! :D

nishitak said...

Yumm...actually Pongal is one of the few Tamilian dishes, I love. The combination of rice n moong dal with mounds of ghee (steaming hot on cold winter days in Bangalore) always makes me feel good.

Your recipe is pretty good. I would leave out the cashews though :)

Happy belated Pongal wishes :)

Meena said...

Nice post! How long to keep the rice in the pressure cooker?

Raaga said...

Hi Meena. Thanks. I cook the rice for 4-5 whistles. :) as I like my pongal really mushy.

Meena said...