Super satisfying and comforting ven pongal recipe! It’s made with rice and moong dal, cooked till porridge consistency. Then flavored with cumin, black pepper, curry leaves, and ginger. When the tempering (tadka) is made, it will have a lovely aroma of ghee (clarified butter).
What is Ven pongal ?
Ven pongal is also called khara pongal. Pongal is a rice dish where rice and dal are boiled in plenty of water till cooked, soft and porridge-like consistency. Traditionally it is cooked in an earthen pot over the wood fire. But in modern days, we cook in a pressure cooker or instant pot. Basically, ven pongal is South Indian version of moong dal khichdi.
This rich, unique flavored khara pongal is commonly eaten as a breakfast. Also, it is made as an offering to God (naivedhya) during pooja. And most importantly prepared during harvest festival - Thai pongal. Along with this savory version, a sweet pongal is also made on this day.
This is light on the stomach and very easy to digest. Today’s recipe is the basic, simple version. There are many variations to make it even more healthy where rice is replaced with millet, oats, quinoa, semolina.
Preparation for khara pongal recipe:
- Take moong dal in a pan and dry roast on medium-low heat with stirring continuously.
- Dry roast till they get slight color change and become fragrant. It takes a few minutes only. Remove it to a bowl.
- In the same pan, dry roast the rice for 2-3 minutes only. Not looking for color change or anything. You will get just roasted aroma. Remove it to the same bowl. Roasting rice step is optional.
How to make ven pongal?
- Once cool to touch, wash or rinse using water till water is clear and no more cloudy.
- Take washed dal, rice in a pressure cooker. Add salt.
- Add water and stir.
- Cover with a lid, put the weight on and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles on medium heat. Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the lid. Rice grains and dal should be cooked till soft and mushy.
- As you stir, it becomes a mushy and creamy texture. NOTE: If it looks dry then add boiling hot water and stir vigorously to combine.
- Now take cumin seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.
- Coarsely crush them and keep it ready. Alternately, you can use the spice grinder.
- Heat the ghee and oil in a small tadka pan on medium heat.
- Once hot, add cashew nuts and fry till they are light golden brown in color.
- Add curry leaves, ginger, and hing.
- Within a few seconds, add crushed cumin and peppercorns, mix.
- Immediately add the tempering to the cooked pongal.
- Mix really well and it is ready to serve.
Khara pongal is best-served piping hot and warm. As it cools, it becomes thick and lose its consistency. The leftover can be reheated. But you may need to add hot water to make it the right consistency.
What to serve with ven pongal?
Tips to make BEST Ven pongal:
- Do not reduce the amount of ghee in the recipe. The addition of ghee makes it aromatic, rich and flavorful. It also makes it smooth and less sticky.
- You can make a coarse mixture of cumin-pepper in a large batch and store in an airtight container. And use as needed. This mixture is used in many south Indian dishes like rasam, rava dosa, rava idli. So making a big batch and storing is a good idea if you are making such dishes frequently.
- You can dry roast the moong dal in a big batch (good enough for 1-2 months) and store in an airtight container.
- Roasting rice is optional.
- Pongal is usually made with a local verity of short grain rice. So every household use whatever they have and whatever they like. I personally use sona masoori rice.
- Dal and rice ratio is adjustable. If you want you can increase the dal amount and reduce the rice amount.
Ven Pongal Recipe (Khara Pongal)
For Ven Pongal Recipe:
- 1 cup Short grain rice (sona masoori)
- ⅓ cup Yellow moong dal (split and skinless)
- Salt to taste
- 4 ½ cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon Black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 3 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
- 5-6 Cashew nuts halved
- 8-10 Curry leaves
- 2 teaspoons Ginger finely chopped or minced
- ¼ teaspoon Hing (Asafoetida)
- Dry roast the moong dal on medium-low heat till it becomes fragrant and it gets slight color change. Remove it to a bowl.
- Similarly dry roast the rice. Here we are not looking for color change.
- Remove the rice to the same bowl and let it cool down to touch.
- Then wash or rinse them using water till water becomes clear and no more cloudy.
Making ven pongal:
- Take washed dal, rice, salt and water in a pressure cooker.
- Cover and cook for 4-5 whistles on medium heat.
- Once the pressure goes down, open the lid and mix the pongal really well. It should be mushy and porridge-like loose consistency.
- Take cumin seeds and peppercorns in mortar and pestle. Coarsely crush them and keep it aside.
- To make the tempering, heat the oil and ghee in a small pan on medium heat.
- Once hot add cashews and fry till light golden.
- Add curry leaves, ginger, hing, and cumin-pepper powder.
- Immediately add this tadka to the pongal and mix.
- Serve piping hot or warm.
- Roasting rice is optional.
- Do not reduce the amount of ghee. It is the key ingredient to get the right flavor and texture.
- Dal and rice ratio is adjustable.
How to make pongal in instant pot?
- You will need 4 cups of water for the above dal-rice amount.
- Instead of a stovetop pressure cooker, cook dal-rice in instant pot.
- Cook on manual (high pressure) for 10 minutes. Let it naturally release the pressure.
- Make tempering on the stove top as mentioned above.
- Second method: Make the tempering in instant pot on saute mode. Then add dal-rice, water and turn off the saute mode. Cook on manual for 10 minutes.