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March 5, 2015

Venpongal / Pongal / Southindian Kichidi


Here I am again, after a long break......  with a yummy dish... A colleague of mine asked for this recipe. I noticed i have not made a post on Pongal making........

Pongal - falls into Breakfast Menu of Tamizh Nadu. It is one of my favourite. I love to have Hot pongal and Meduvada with chutney and sambar followed by a cup of Filter Coffee to complete the ritual! A good start of the day with a Foodie Bliss!

It is a form of kichidi made in the state of Tamizh Nadu.  This is salt version hence the name 'Ven Pongal' (ven means white in tamizh). The sweet version is known as 'Sakkarai Pongal' which is made using jaggery hence little brown in color. The famous Harvest festival of southern india during Makarasankaranti - called 'Pongal' when the Salt as well as Sweet version is offered to the Sun God. Pongal also means rising... i.e. when you cook rice, when the water start boiling it rise and flow out.... it is considered auspicious on pongal day ... it is believed that "like the overflowing water happiness and prosperity should overflow in one's life".

Let's go ahead with the pongal making. It is very easy to make this dish. 

Ingredients :-

  1. Rice - 1 Cup
  2. Moong Dal - 1/4 Cup (split and deskinned green gram)
  3. Water - 3.5 to 4 Cups
  4. Milk - 1/2 Cup (optional)
  5. Salt to taste

For temepering :

  1. Curry leaves - 1 Sprig
  2. Black Peppercorns - 1 to 2 tsp
  3. Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  4. Asafoetida - One pinch
  5. Cashew Nut - 6 to 8 nos. (Broken) - (optional)
  6. Ghee - 3 Tbsp

Procedure :-

  • Lightly dry roast the Moong Dal (split deskinned green gram) till nice aroma comes. Color should not change.
  • Add to the raw rice and wash it well.  Drain.
  • Add Water and Milk to it. mix. (If you are not using milk, then you can add upto 4 cups water). If using milk, add 3.5 cup water and half cup milk.
  • Pressure cook till it turns mushy. (I never let the whistle come. When the first whistle is about to come, i lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes).
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Crush the pepper and Cumin seeds coarsely using a mortal and pestle (this is to make the aroma blend well with the pongal. If you don't have one, no problem, crush the black pepper corns very lightly so that it will not burst while tempering)
  • Now heat a tempering pan, add ghee, When it is heated, add the coarsely crushed black pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, cashew nuts. Roast in low flame till cashew turn light golden in color.
  • Add this tempering to the rice dal mix.
  • Once done, mix it well when the pongal is still hot.
  • Relish it with coconut chutney / sambar.

I enjoy the pongal even without any side dish.

I remember the yummy pongal prashad we get at vishnu temples in the month of Margazhi. This month which falls during winter season air is cold in the morning and the hot hot  prashad just slips in spreading the warmth and soothe the hungry stomach. Makes the early waking and visit to temple in the cold morning an interesting one!

It is an excellent Food and is very good to consume when you have cold / cough / sore throat. In monsoon, it is apt to have a bowl of hot pongal followed by a cup of coffee watching the rains pitter patter near the window sil......

I am not getting much leisure hours now but still i have very good memories of my favourite time and pongal breakfast is one such gastronomically nostalgic moment! - to cherish for the life time.

Here is a hot cup of virtual Filter Kaapi (coffee) for you......


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