Ven Pongal

A delicious and nutritive breakfast of rice and lentils
Ingredients - Serves 6-8
  • 3 cups white or brown uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 cup split mung bean (moong dal)
  • ¼ cup black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ¼ cup cashews, optional
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • ¼ cup milk, optional
  • 4 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing), optional
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a small pan. Fry the cashews and set aside
  2. In a larger pot, heat the remaining 3 tbsp of ghee. Add the cumin seeds, ginger and ground pepper. Fry till the cumin seeds start to brown
  3. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry till the leaves wilt
  4. Add the rice and lentils (dal) and fry till the rice starts to brown
  5. Add milk, if using and then pour in 6-8 cups of water. Mix in salt and cook till the rice and dal are soft
  6. Use a {pressure cooker} to speed up the cooking
    The more water you add, the softer the pongal will be
    To add the correct amount of salt, taste the water. It should seem slightly salty. That way, once the rice and dal are cooked, you will not have to adjust the salt again
  7. Take off the heat, mix in the cashews and ghee and serve hot with any chutney, pickle or sambar
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