Ven pongal recipe with stovetop & Instant pot instructions. 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.
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 ½ cup moong dal on a low to medium flame till aromatic. Keep stirring often to prevent the dal from burning. When you begin to smell the dal good, turn off the stove.
2. Next add ½ cup 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 3 cups water & add ½ teaspoon salt. If cooking in a pressure cooker directly, cook on a low to medium flame for 2 to 3 whistles. Or For a pot in pot method you can place the bowl in the cooker and pressure cook for 4 whistles. You can also cook in a pot until soft adding more water as needed.
4. When the pressure releases naturally open the lid and stir well. Rice and dal should be cooked well to mushy. The whole thing should be mushy and soggy. Optional: If you think the consistency is thick for your liking, then you may add little hot water and boil for another 2 to 3 mins. Taste test and add more salt if needed.
Making ven pongal recipe
5. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons ghee. Split open 10 cashew nuts and fry them till golden. Remove them to a plate & set this aside.
6. To the same pan, add 1 inch ginger (fine chopped or paste) & 1 slit green chilies (optional). Then add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ½ teaspoon crushed pepper corn. Saute until cumin sizzles. Add 1 sprig curry leaves, a pinch of 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. Pour this to the cooked rice and dal. Give a good mix and simmer for a minute or two so the flavors are well infused.
Serve khara pongal with coconut chutney or pickle.
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.
Ven pongal recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
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 (more if needed)
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons ghee (½ tbsp more for serving)
- 10 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)
- 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 3 cups water. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Cook the rice & dal to a soft texture.
- For pressure cooking: If cooking directly in the pressure cooker, then cook for 2 to 3 whistles on a medium flame. If cooking in a bowl, then place it in the cooker and pressure cook for 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.
- Open the cooker when the pressure drops. If you desire, you can mash up the cooked rice & dal a bit to get creamy consistency. It should be mushy and soggy. If it is too try, add some hot water to bring it to a consistency you like. It should not be very runny or dry. Add more salt if needed and stir.
Making ven pongal recipe
- Heat a small pan with 2 tablespoons ghee. Split open 10 cashew nuts & fry them till golden. Remove these to a plate for garnish.
- To the same pan, add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds & ½ teaspoon crushed pepper. When the seeds splutter, then add green chili (optional), 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 so the flavors are absorbed. Serve ven pongal with coconut chutney or sambar.
Instant pot pongal
- Rinse rice and dal a couple of times and drain the water. Press SAUTE button and pour ghee to the steel insert.
- Fry the cashews until golden and remove them to a plate. Then add cumin seeds and crushed pepper.
- When they splutter, add ginger, curry leaves, green chilies and hing. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Then add turmeric, moong dal and rice. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until the moong dal begins to smell good.
- Pour 3 cups water and add half teaspoon salt. Deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a spatula.
- Press CANCEL button and secure the instant pot with the lid. Position the steam release valve to sealing.
- Next press PRESSURE COOK button and set the timer for 9 mins. When the IP is done, it beeps. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Stir and taste test. Add more salt if needed. If the consistency is too thick, pour some hot water. Garnish ven pongal with fried cashews.
Video of ven pongal recipe
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
- Crush the pepper corn before adding to the pan, sometimes they splutter & can cause burns.
- After cooling ven pongal will thicken, so turn off when it is gooey.
- You can substitute rice with brown rice, millets, steel cut oats or quinoa. you will have to soak them for at least 15 mins and then use in the recipe to reduce the cook time. Also use more water for brown rice.
- For health benefits soak the brown rice, millets or steel cut oats for 6 to 8 hours.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
© Swasthi’s Recipes