Recently I observed my mother making Ven Pongal in a slightly different manner than it's usually done, she added the seasonings to the rice and mung dhal before cooking them instead of after she said that it helped to flavour the rice more uniformly and I liked it because it required a lot less ghee than the other method to season the pongal well. So, now I do follow this method too. We also like the grains to be a bit separate instead of the mushy consistency that ven pongals normally have. The water measurements given below are in accordance with our preference, please feel free to increase the water if you so prefer.
This is my 3rd and final entry to Viji's RCI-Tamil Festivals.
Rice - 1 cup
Split Yellow Mung Dhal - 1/3 cup
Water - 3 cups
Ghee - 3 tsp
Ginger - 2 inch piece, peeled and chopped finely
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1 tsp powdered/whole, or to taste
Curry leaves - few
Salt, to taste
Cashews - 2 tbsp, broken into bits
1) Toast Mung dhal in a pan till fragrant (don't let it brown). Add to the rice and wash both together.
2) Heat 2 tsp ghee in the pan, and add cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once they sizzle, add the chopped ginger and pepper. Toss for a minute or two before emptying this into the rice and dhal mixture. Add required amount of salt and the 3 cups of water. Pressure cook this (like you would rice).
3) Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tsp of ghee and fry the cashews. Once the pressure is released, remove the pongal and mix gently, garnish with the roasted cashews.
I normally serve it with Chidambaram Gothsu but this time I served this with Padma's Udipi Sambhar :)