Pongal recipes - Ven Pongal also known as Khara Pongal is a popular South India Ghee Khichdi type made with rice and dal cooked and seasoned to flavour and garnished with nuts. Pongal is the simplest and quickest breakfast recipe and scrumptious to eat. Ghee added to the ven pongal enhances the flavours and allures your taste buds with its aroma lingering around while cooking this dish.
Ven Pongal is a savory dish, pleasing, soft and having a buttery texture. It is refreshing and comfort breakfast dish packed with nutrition. This appetizing dish is traditionally prepared during the Pongal festival or harvest festival in southern India especially Tamil Nadu. Pongal in Tamil actually means something that is overflowing or spilling over. This dish is traditionally cooked in a new clay pot and the boiling or overflowing of milk while cooking symbolizes material abundance for the household.
Ven Pongal is similar to the Khichadi prepared in north India but made with few variations and method of cooking to suit the regional taste. This dish is a complete wholesome, nutritious stomach filling meal usually served with coconut chutney, sambar and vadi. It is mildly spices, highly nutritious, easily digestible and fat free except for the little ghee added to that enhance the flavours and taste. People on diet or on low fat diet can avoid the ghee.
Types of Pongal Traditionally there are two versions of preparing the Pongal. One the off-white savoury kind which is known at Ven Pongal and the other namely Sakkarai Pongal is the sweet version made with jaggery (Sweet Pongal). In both varieties, the key in making a scrumptious and appetizing pongal is its texture which makes the dish reach the stomach directly without the effort in chewing. The consistency generally is neither too thick nor watery but is soft and easily digestible.
The rice and dal are cooked until very soft and the ratio of rice and water used is 1:6 (rice:water) for making an immaculate consistency. These two varieties of Pongal are often prepared during some special occasions or festivals. They are also served in most south Indian temples as Prasad. Generally on the Pongal festival day, most of the temples offer hot steaming pongal to the devotees after worship. They are served in small banana leaves.
The fragrance of this dish is highly aromatic full of ghee and the mild spices from freshly crushed black pepper corns and cumin seeds make this dish truly delicious and irresistible! This dish apart from Idli is the second most sought after consumed breakfast in Tamil Nadu.
Variations of Ven Pongal
There are many variations that can be made to prepare the Ven pongal. Normally on a large scale of cooking the Ven pongal in hotel or marriages, all ingredients are cooked together including whole black pepper whereas in most homes, first the rice and dal is cooked until mashy and then tempered. Freshly ground black pepper and jeera are added toward the end and mixed thoroughly. However cooked, the texture, taste and appearance are the vital factors to tempt our taste buds in eating this flavourful dish. With all happiness of making this super appetizing breakfast, one will surely pep up with loads of energy to kick start the day with a pleasure feeling.
Loaded with rice, lentil, and ghee, the dish is not only healthy but also luscious and pleasantly satiating. The recipe varies in each household in terms of proportions of lentil and rice. Do try this south Indian dish and you can also customize the seasoning according to your taste. The recipe varies in each house hold in terms of the proportions of the lentils to the rice. Like any other south Indian dish, this dish gets its zing from the curry leaves, heat from freshly ground black pepper and warmth from cumin seeds. The perfect combination or side dish accompanied with Ven Pongal is Coconut chutney, Sambar, Brinjal/ Eggplant Gotsu
How to make Ven Pongal – South Indian Ghee Khichdi
Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1 to ½ cup
Cashew nuts - 10 gms
Cumin seeds - ¼ tsp
Curry leaves - 2 springs
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Green chillies - 3 nos
Hing - pinch
Pepper corns - ½ tsp
Salt - to taste
Directions: Heat a pan and add rice, moong dal and dry roast this for 3 minutes. Add ghee and roast on a slow flame. Keep aside. In a pressure cooker, add water, salt, cumin seeds, moong dal, rice and green chillies. Cover with lid and cook until the rice is done. Heat ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds, cashew nuts, ginger chopped, hing, curry leaves, crush pepper corns and sauté well. Add mashed rice, mix well and serve with gotsu.
Do make this most sought out dish and enjoy feasting on the cashews and the aromatic taste of ghee. It’s a delightful treat eating this excellent and yummy Ven Pongal. Click on the link for the recipe: