Wednesday, October 7, 2009

VEN PONGAL வெண் பொங்கல்


VEN PONGAL வெண் பொங்கல் (yellow lentil hotch-potch S.Indian style)


Word "PONGAL" conjures up very fond memories of 40 years I spent in Madras which happens to be my birth place. I remember the day of Pongal always falling on 14th January. People with new clothes,Cows and bullocks with all the decorations and freshly painted horns , smell of fresh Pongal cooking all around and we the children dividing our time between the festivities and kite flying.
I am a sucker for everything South Indian. Even now in USA, I stop in my tracks when I hear people talking in Tamil, Telugu Kannada etc and start a conversation with them. My home cooking and eating habits are mostly southern Indian.
Pongal is a favorit dish loved by all of us and I never get tired of cooking this simple food .

Pongal, as Venpongal is known, is very popular breakfast item. But we generally prepare it as a dinner item. It is the best comfort food along with Gujarati khichadi as its Northern counterpart. It is enjoyed best with coconut chutney.






1 Cup Of Rice (don't use old rice)
1/2 Cup Moong Dal (green gram dal)
1 Tea spoon of Cumin powder (Pound with mortar )
1/2 spoon of Broken Black Pepper
1/2 Spoon of Whole black pepper
1/2 Cup of Ghee (small cup)
2 Broken Red Chilies
8 Cashew nuts broken in half or 1/4th
2 Sprigs of Curry leaves


First roast the Dal in ghee till it turns light pink in colour. Cook this roasted dal along with fairly new rice in a pressure cooker. Add along with dal, whole black pepper 1/2 spoon and also 1/2 spoon of Jeera in the pressure cooker. After first whistle , remove the cooker from stove and let steam subside. Now take some Ghee in the kadai/wok and fry Cashew nuts till they turn pinkish brown. Frying must be done on a low flame. At the end of cashew frying, add Curry leaves and 1/2 spoon of cumin seeds and turn it twice or thrice but no more than 15 seconds. Some people fry whole black peppers along with cashew instead of adding while cooking.

Immediately add the cashew and the contents of Kadai/wok to Dal Rice mixture. Now add Salt to taste. Some people prefer to add salt during steam cooking. I prefer to add half during cooking and half after the whole thing is ready. It is safe to follow my method. Now thoroughly turn the Ven Pongal in the vessel so that salt, cashew, broken black pepper and Jeera etc mix well. Close the lid of cooker again for fifteen minutes. This will ensure cumin flavour to spread. cumin should be semi broken. Prepare Coconut chutney and serve with pongal.


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