Ven pongal recipe – Pongal is a popular South Indian food prepared with rice & moong dal, either to a sweet or savory dish. Ven pongal or khara pongal is the name given to the savory version. It is offered to the GODS or diety as naivedyam not only in South Indian homes but also in temples, during regular pooja, auspicious days & festivals.
Both versions of pongal are offered to Godess Durga & Lakshmi during Navratri, Varalakshmi puja and even on regular days.
Basically ven pongal is a south Indian version of the Dal khichdi. For many South Indians it is a comfort food as it is quick to prepare and is light on the stomach. It can be prepared quickly for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Pongal is protein packed, tastes delicious with a good aroma of ghee and seasoned ingredients. It takes less than 30 minutes to make along with a chutney. It tastes best when served hot or warm.
This pongal recipe can be used to make a millet, oats or quinoa pongal. Just replace rice with millet or quinoa.
The khara pongal recipe shared here is a traditional one. We make it this way at home mostly to offer as naivedyam using cow’s ghee and a dash of turmeric for tempering.
Cow’s ghee and turmeric are a must in most homes for savory naivedyams. You can also find a sweet version of pongali called as Sweet pongali here.
Tips to make pongal recipe
- The key ingredients to make a good pongal are good quality ghee, curry leaves, pepper, ginger and hing. There are no substitutes to these ingredients and do not skip them.
- Do not skimp on the amount of ghee used in the recipe as it brings a whole lot of aroma to the dish. It also make the dish less sticky.
- The ratio of rice & dal is a personal choice. My mom always made pongal with equal amount of rice and dal so that we get enough protein in our diet. However you may reduce it if you prefer.
- We usually dry roast the moong dal good enough for a month, cool it and then store in a dry jar. This saves some time whenever you plan to make the dish.
- Khara pongal is usually made with short grain rice varieties that is locally grown in South India. So each home uses whatever they use for their regular cooking.
Khara or ven pongal recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup rice (or any – millets, oats, quinoa)
- ½ cup moong dal (skinned split mung beans)
- 2½ to 3 cups water
- 1½ tablespoon ghee (½ tbsp more for serving)
- 8 cashew nuts (or as needed, optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin (jeera)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper corn (crushed)
- 1 inch ginger (grated or paste or sliced or chopped)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 1 pinch turmeric (haldi)
- 1 green chili slit (optional, skip if offering to god)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for pongal recipe
- Add ½ cup dal to a pot or pressure cooker.
- Dry roast on a low to medium flame till it begin to smell nice & aromatic. This step is optional however pongal gets a real aroma from the roasted dal.
- Add ½ cup rice to the roasted dal. Wash them at least three times. Drain the water completely. Pour 2½ to 3 cups water. Add salt. Cook the rice & dal to a soft texture.
- For pressure cooking: If cooking directly in the pressure cooker, then cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame. If cooking in a bowl, then place it in the cooker and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles. When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid.
- To cook in pot: You can also cook the rice & dal in a pot until soft & mushy.
- If you desire, you can mash up the cooked rice & dal a bit to get creamy consistency. Let the excess water evaporate and the rice reach a mushy and creamy stage. It should not be very runny or dry. Add more salt if needed and stir.
Making ven pongal recipe
- Heat a small pan with ghee. Fry cashews till golden. Set aside.
- Add cumin & crushed pepper. Allow them to splutter then add green chili, ginger and turmeric. Saute well until the tempering turns aromatic. Then add hing.
- Pour this to the cooked pongal. Mix and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Off the stove.
- Serve ven pongal with coconut chutney or sambar.
Video of ven pongal recipe
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
1. I usually use my stainless steel pressure cooker to cook most of my foods directly in it. However you can also make the pongal in a bowl by placing it in the cooker. If you do not own a cooker then just cook it in a pot.
Heat a pressure cooker or pot and dry roast moong dal on a low to medium flame till aromatic. Keep stirring often to prevent the dal from burning.
2. Next add rice to the pot. Wash them very well a few times. If you are on a health spree, you may substitute half of the rice with brown rice. But will need to soak for at least 30 to 45 minutes to get a smooth pongal.
3. Pour 2½ to 3 cups water & add salt. Cook till soft. You can cook in a cooker or pot.
4. If cooking in a pressure cooker directly, cook on a low to medium flame for 2 whistles. Or For a pot in pot method you can place the bowl in the cooker and pressure cook for 3 whistles. When the pressure releases naturally open the lid and stir. Rice and dal should be cooked well to mushy.
Making ven pongal recipe
5. Heat a pan with ghee and fry nuts till golden. Remove them to a plate & set this aside.
6. In the same pan, saute ginger & chilies for 1 min. Then add cumin and crushed pepper corn. Saute until cumin sizzles. Add curry leaves, turmeric and a pinch of hing. When the leaves turn crisp & you begin to get a good aroma of the tempering, switch off. If not making for naivedyam, you can also use a slit green chili to add heat.
7. Transfer it to the cooked rice and dal. Simmer for a minute or two.
Serve khara pongal with chutney.