My Mom & MIL makes ven pongal very nicely. Though they follow different methods , i like both the versions.I usually follow my MIL’s method as my hubby is fond of it.My mom adds crushed pepper & my mil adds whole pepper & green chilly along with other ingredients.To me, its a very easy one pot meal.So I usually make pongal in busy mornings & mostly for my guests..The taste & softness of pongal depends not only in the quantity of ghee we add but also it depends on the quality of rice , rice & water ratio .. In Tamilnadu , we get pongal rice(raw rice) specifically which we use for making sakkarai pongal & ven pongal .Here in Bangalore , i buy the costliest , good quality sona masoori raw rice.Though i can confidently make pongal using my MIL’s method ,I was looking for a recipe which uses less ghee. When i was browsing, i came across a recipe which was given by a reader in padhu’s kitchen.He mentioned a recipe using oil & less ghee.I was very happy as i was searching for the same.I tried immediately.In spite of less ghee ,it was really tasting great with good flavour.We loved it and its sure a guilt free pongal.I ‘ve decided to follow this recipe from now on. If u r planning to try for ur guests , add more ghee before serving otherwise just follow this recipe for the first time and adjust the amount of ghee if u wish.I’ve given my mom & mil’s version in the “Notes” section.. Do try any method based on ur liking..Remember pongal should be served hot for its best taste . Serve with coconut chutney or brinjal gosthu ..!!
- Raw rice – 1 cup
- Moong dal –2 tbsp
- Water – 4 - 5 cups (depends on rice)
- Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Pepper corns – 3/4 tsp
- Jeera – 2 tsp
- Green chilli – 1 no (slit into two)
- Ginger – 1 inch piece ( finely chopped)
- Hing/Asafetida - 2 pinches
- Curry leaves – few
- Cashew – 5 nos (break into half)
- In a pressure cooker base,heat a tsp of ghee & roast moong dal without changing its color till u get a nice aroma..
- Wash the rice and drain the water completely..Cook rice and dal adding 4 – 5 cups of water, salt & hing.Pressure cook till rice turns mushy.After the steam is released completely , remove the lid and mash it well with a ladle. Set aside.
- In a kadai , heat oil and add the pepper corns.. Let it start to splutter. Reduce the flame and then add the jeera , green chilli , ginger bits , curry leaves and little hing. Mix well and switch off the flame. They will be sautéed in the heat of the oil..
- Pour this mixture over the mashed rice and mix well.
Just before serving , roast cashews in the mentioned amount of ghee and add to pongal. Mix well and serve hot immediately.Add more ghee if necessary...
- If u r making for guests , add one more tbsp of ghee at the end before serving…
- Usually vanaspati / Dalda is added in restaurants. But we all know its bad for health.. So its better to use cooking oil & ghee combination as it is low in calories too…
- Roasting moong dal is completely optional. Some people make it as such.But i roast it always as it enhances the flavour of pongal..
- The quantity of water completely depends on the quality of rice.
- My mom adds roasted pepper powder on top of pongal along with jeera and other things to get more spicy taste. As we don’t eat whole pepper corns ,she follows this way to include pepper in our food..
- My MIL makes it very simple. ie. In a pressure cooker base ,add 2 tbsp of ghee and saute pepper corns , jeera , green chilli , curry leaves , ginger bits. Now add moong dal and roast in low flame for few seconds. Now add the washed rice , required water & salt , hing. Pressure cook till it turns mushy. After opening the cooker , add the cashews roasted in 1 tbsp of ghee. Mix well and serve hot.. I used to follow this method earlier..
- Adding hing and ginger gives a restaurant touch. U can replace ginger bits with ginger paste too.