I thought starting my first post of this year with a sweet, but when your year doesn’t start with a sweet note, I decided against it. The whole house was down with flu again !!, Heard some sad news from Home town.., couldn’t really start with a sweet, at least let me hope rest of the year would be much better with good things to set sail the year ahead.
This is one of the most classic authentic South Indian recipe, which you would have seen in many blogs, It is best to eat it really warm. Some do like it, some don’t, anyways I love this for a lot of reasons, particularly when I am travelling. When ever I go to India and I am travelling my breakfast in Hotels / Restaurants would be this or Idlies. For two reasons, Moong dal in this helps to keep your body cool. Ginger, Pepper and Cumin keeps it more healthy and easily digestible not a very spicy food either. well, when it comes to Ghee may be they would have messed it up but again it will not be like home-made with pure Ghee, but, will not have too much Ghee in it either so adjustable than eating oily Dosa / Poori etc.., As said earlier Idlies are definitely perfect breakfast as they are steam cooked and again easily digestible. well, that was quite a long list of things I had to say.. coming back to this recipe.
This is the month of Marghazi, a month completely dedicated to Lord vishnu by Andal for her love for him, which I have mentioned about her and about the significance in my older posts. Check here if you are interested. This whole starting from December 14th everyday we offer Ven Pongal to the God as Prasadam / Neivaidyam , My mum even today makes this everyday in a little Vangala Kinni ( bronze small bowl ). well, you know why I mentioned amma and not me, I don’t make it everyday but try and make it once in a week, Usually on a saturday, festival or not.., Even in Temples this is given as prashadam every day and the temples open very early and close early as well in this month.
VEN PONGAL / KHARA PONGAL ( RICE AND MOONG DAL KHICHDI )
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 Cup Raw Rice ( I use sona Masoori)
1/4 + 2 tbsp cup Moong dal / Payatham (Pasi ) Paruppu / Hesaru Bele / Pesara Pappu
1 tsp Coarsely crushed Cumin seeds
1 tsp whole pepper corns
1” Grated Ginger
Salt as Required ( around 2 tsp )*
3 and 1/2 Cups of water ( see notes )
1 Cup Milk ( see notes)
1 tsp whole Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coarsely Crushed Pepper corns
1 sprig (10-15) Curry leaves
2 tbsp Chopped ( broken) Cashews
1/4 Pure Ghee**
Coarsely Crush Pepper and Cumin in a pestle and mortar.
Grate Ginger finely.
In a pan with a tsp of Ghee in a medium flame fry Moong dal until it gives a nice aroma.
In a Pressure cooker, take water and milk add the fried Moong dal
Then add washed Rice into this as well.
Add required quantity of salt, grated Ginger, Crushed cumin and whole pepper,
Close the lid and pressure cook for 2 whistles / 3 whistles***
Meanwhile in a little wok / pan heat in a medium flame 2 tbsp of Ghee, to this add crushed Pepper and whole cumin seeds lower the flame then add broken cashew nuts fry for a minute once they start changing colour switch off the stove remove it from the stove then add curry leaves give a few seconds stir then add the remaining ghee in it and set aside.
Once the cooker is cool, Remove the lid add the seasonings completely mix well and now it is ready to serve.
The water and milk I have suggested will make a perfectly cooked pongal, If you like it a bit more liquidy like my Hubby does, add extra warm milk or water whatever you prefer and mix well.
* Remember to adjust salt the amount I have suggested is the salt I use, as well.
**I have also suggested 1/4 cup Ghee, you can reduce or increase it as much as Ghee required.
***If you prefer it not too much cooked you can switch off the stove, If you want it very soft then wait for 3 whistles and then switch off the stove.
Do not burn the cumin seeds it will taste differently, that is why I have suggested you to keep the flame low.