Ven Pongal

Fond memories of the Pongal festival, for me, were mostly set at my grandparents' place (after my mom makes pongals as well) where paati would have prepared it the old-fashioned way, using a stove lit by coal and wood with vengala paanais (bronze vessels) adorned with turmeric and kumkum. Besides rice, ven pongal and chakkarai (sweet) pongal, she would also make a huge pot of aviyal and yummy sambhar. We all have a nice get-together as well since everyone from my mother's side visits my grandparents' during this festival.

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 :)


  1. Hi Lavs....I love this Pongal......comfort food really :-)
    Cool buddy so u used to come to tvm every year and that too ur uncles worked there....great...Can u tell their names...let me see If I know them by any chance.........great buddy...we do have a connection here :-)

  2. Thanks for this delicious authentic recipe, and that of the gotsu too! I'll be trying this soon.

  3. finally, someone posts pongal (where's the gothsu?) - i was wondering all along if people have forgotten this festival. your pongal looks very different - perhaps because of the separat rice grains.

  4. Thank you Sirisha. Sure.. Will mail you the names. You may know one of them.. he was quite prominent.

    Nupur.. I hope you do try it. We love pongal and gothsu.

    Lakshmi, I've posted the Gothsu recipe earlier and have linked to it as well... this time I made sambar to go with it.. :)

  5. Great combo Laavanya. I love spicy Pongal too!:)

  6. Delicious Pongal Lavanya.....I just love the hot pongal, with a dash of ghee :)

  7. Delicious and as authentic as it can get! I will try this recipe soon. I just posted my entry for RCI and it is a type of Pongal too :)

  8. I love the ven pongal we get at temple! its out of the world! never attempted at home.

  9. i love pongal..sadly i'm in love with the one doused in ghee ;)..tho i will try and make urs out as i know you are a darn good cook...will just add some more water for the mushy stuff...

  10. Ven pongal with sambar and add coconut chutney too.. enjoyed by all.

  11. sambar must make a wonderful combo for the texture of pongal u make, hv to try it sometime :)
    looks delicious.

  12. I don't think I've ever eaten pongal before. Might have to get started by trying this one out. ;-)

  13. Pongal with sambar/coconut chuney...nice combo...used to hav this while going to tamilnadu...urs looks yumm..

  14. i hear ya. it's the mush that turns me off pongal. will try it this way.

  15. I love Ven pongal with peanut chutney. We always order at the NJ Bridgewater Temple here... lovely entry!

  16. This is my fav too. Nothing like a steaming hot pongal with a dollop of ghee for a breakfast on a cold morning. I do it the same way too, but mine is more mashed up. Looks great and mouth-watering.


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