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Ven Pongal (rice dish)

November 18, 2012

Ven Pongal (A rice dish with black pepper and jeera (cumin seeds) (stable south indian breakfast or brunch)  (high calorie dish)


Take rice : Paasi paruppu or payatham paruppu (tamil) or moong dal  (hindi) (green gram in english) in equal measures.  For this dish today i have taken 1.5 cups raw rice plus 1.5 cups of moong dal or green gram.

Salt to taste

Water:  7 cups i have used for 3 cups of rice and dal to be pressure-cooked.   That is, i have used 1 extra cup of water over double the water required.  for 3 cups rice + dal i have used 6 + 1 cups of water to have the dish well-cooked and not crispy.

Ghee for garnishing

Asaefoetida powder for sprinkling

For sauteing: Oil – 2 tbs (generous measure!), curry leaves, cumin seeds 6-8 tsps, black pepper 2 tsp, curry leaves, broken cashew nuts a handful, a slice of ginger grated minutely.

This dish serves 4 people.


Immerse rice and dal in water for about 30 min and wash thoroughly.  Add water in the ratio suggested.  Add salt and pressure cook to soft.  So we now have the basic ‘Ven Pongal’ without garnishing.

Now this heavy rice dish is heavily gastric no doubt, but that is why we are adding black pepper, ginger and asaefoetida to off set any gastric problems.  ‘Ven Pongal’ is a very sumptuous, filling and yummy dish, the right way to kick-start a busy day with.  Packed with carbos and proteins to give us energy to last a day (the addition of ghee or clarified butter gives one that ‘full’ feeling), the adding of pepper and ginger is good for arresting cold and cough the most natural way.

Take 2 tbs of oil in a shallow pan and heat it.  Add the cashew nuts first and wait until they start turning brown.  Add the black pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves and grated ginger one by one and keep stirring for a few minutes.   When everything splutter, turn off flame.

Add this to the cooked Pongal.  Sprinkle asaefoetida on the top and add 2-3 tsps of ghee.  Turn everything well.

Now hot steaming filling ‘Ven Pongal’ is ready to serve.

Ideally this dish is served with side-dishes Vada and Sambhar and Coconut chutney.  Eating the ‘Ven Pongal’ with Sambhar, Chutney and Vada in a washed banana leaf is the typical south Indian way of finding total gratification in plain simple food.   Weddings or other functions in the south are incomplete without serving this dish first in banana leaves for guests.  None expects a silver plate – the respect is for the serving in Banana leaf.  (ofcourse all is changing now slowly with ceramics and crystals edging out the banana leaves from our basically simple style of life.)


From → Vegetarian

  1. Oh, I love pongal. It looks so yummy!

  2. Louise permalink

    That looks yummi! Love rice dishes, especially ones like this kedgeree, think you will like it!

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