Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is a much loved breakfast food in South India. However, you can have it any time of the day. Ven Pongal works at the brunch or dinner table with equal ease. With the millet wave sweeping the diets of all, I feel this is a good time to share a recipe with millets.
Samai rice/Little Millet replaces white rice in this preparation. Not only is it far healthier, the millet also cooks faster than rice. Isn’t that great news? Samai has 8 times more iron than white rice and 10 times more fibre. If that was not enough, it is higher in thiamin(vit. B1) , riboflavin(vit. B2) and folic acid content as well. Owing to their low glycemic index, millets are good grains to include in diets for weight management, diabetes, as well as in pregnancy. Since Pongal is usually cooked to a soft mush, this dish can be fed to weaning babies or toddlers also.
Pongal tastes best when served hot, so packing for school lunch may not be a great idea. However, you can pack for an office lunch if you can re-heat your food at work place. Now that I have shared enough reasons to switch to the millet from rice, let us proceed to the recipe, shall we?
Making Pongal is really simple. Cook a grain and a lentil together, fry some seasonings in a fry pan, mix the two with some salt and your dish is ready! Read on for the proportions and method here -
- Does not contain gluten, corn, soya, eggs, lactose, dairy.
- Adding nuts is optional. Omit if you have nut allergy.
Preparation time –10 minutes, Cooking Time –15 minutes, Serves – 4-5.
Cookware – Pressure Cooker, fry pan, mortar and pestle
- 1 cup Samai rice
- 1/2 cup Moong Dal
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp ghee
- 10 whole cashew nuts (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ginger juliennes
- 7-8 curry leaves, torn up
- 2 green chilli, slit (optional)
- There are two methods to cook this pongal. You can choose between – 1. Pressure cook the Samai rice and Moong dal together in the pressure cooker. For this, rinse the grains together, cover with 3 times the volume of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Or, 2. Pressure cook the dal alone, and the Samai rice on the stove top. For this, cover dal with double volume of water and cover the millet with double the volume of water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Mix both in a serving bowl.
- Coarsely pound the black pepper and cumin in a mortar and pestle.
- To a fry pan, add in the oil + ghee, fry the cashew nuts (if using) to a golden brown.
- Tip in the pounded pepper +cumin, curry leaves, ginger juliennes, and green chilli.
- Add salt to the cooked mixture, pour in the seasonings and mix well. You may add 1/2 cup of hot boiling water to the mixture if it looks very hard. We want a soft mushy texture to the pongal.
- Serve steaming hot pongal with a spicy chutney, or sambar or even the traditional gothsu! Here I have served it with a tangy raw mango chutney.