Venn Pongal is a traditional south indian speciality that I have grown up with. It`s the main Naivedhyam or offering for Pongal – the harvest festival celebrated in the month of January in all parts of Tamil Nadu. Pongal is basically rice and moong dal cooked to perfection and seasoned with ginger, pepper and cummin. It`s also reminscant of the fragrance of rich ghee and roasted cashew nuts.
Every hotel in Tamil Nadu, makes the most awesome Pongal – Vada – Chutney. Pongal is served steaming hot in a scoop, with a side of coconut chutney, a cup of Sambar and 2 fresh crips vadas on the side. My all time favourite Pongal was at Hotel Arya Bhavan in Madurai, very near the Meenakshi Amman temple and at Hotel Saravana Bhavan at Usman Road, T.Nagar. It`s a breakfast item that I can have for breakfast, lunch and dinner…..!!!!
1 cup of Raw Rice.
1/3 cup of Moong Dal
2 Tsp Ginger Grated.
A pinch of Hing.
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste.
4 1/2 Cups Water.
2 Tsp Jeera.
2 Tsp Whole Black Pepper.
3-4 spoons of Ghee.
5-6 pieces of Cashew.
- Take a dry wok and add a few drops of ghee and lightly roast the moong dal. Move to a cooker vessel.
- Wash the rice and add it to the moong dal.
- Add a spoon of ghee to a kadai and and when hot, add the ginger, hing and turmeric.
- Add it to the rice and moong dal. Pour 4 1/2 cups water, add sufficient salt , cook for 1 whistle and keep on sim for 10 minutes.
- Switch off the flame and when the pressure is released, mash the cooked rice and dal.
- In a wide mouthed kadai, add 3 Tsbp ghee.
- Season with cashew nuts, curry leaves, jeera and black pepper.
- Allow it to saute for a few seconds and then add the cooked rice and moong dal.
- At this point, If you feel that the Pongal looks dry, add 1/3 cup of milk and a spoon of ghee and stir it in.
- This makes the Pongal rich, creamy and very moist.
- Switch off stove and serve piping hot with Sambar/ Coconut Chutney/ Onion Tomato Chutney or Milagu Kuzhambu.