Ven Pongal is a South Indian version of savory porridge. Pongal or Khichdi or Khichuri is made in numerous different varieties in India. It’s called Pongal in Southern Part of India, Khichdi in Gujarat, Khichuri in Bengal, so on and so forth. Khichdi or Pongal is a very simple comfort food of millions.
Khichdi or Pongal is considered nutritious, and one of the healthiest food in India, and it is eaten by poor and rich alike, irrespective of their class. It symbolises India’s great culture of unity in diversity. And hence, Khichdi has also been designated as the National Dish of India.
Given it’s nutritional benefits, it is also fed to infants, and sick people as it is very light and hence, easy to digest.
Pongal or Khichdi can be made using various different varieties of lentils, rice, quinoa, millets. It is enjoyed with lots of ghee/clarified butter. But if you are vegan, you can easily substitute ghee with olive oil.
This Pongal recipe was taught to me by one of my wonderful, foodie friends Shalini Ramachandran who is the founder of ‘Euphoric Delights’, a very popular foodie community on Facebook. I have slightly modified the recipe here. I was never a big fan of khichdi, but this Pongal recipe is something I absolutely love and have made it several times.
I made this recipe using Instant Pot. It can be made using a pressure cooker or even without it. This version is ready in under 15 minutes.
Pongal | Ven Pongal | Khichdi
- 1/2 cup Moong dal (de-husked/skinless, split)
- 1 cup Rice
- 2-3 tablespoons Ghee / clarified butter Use olive oil for vegan version
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds / Jeera
- 1 teaspoon Ginger root, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper, crushed
- Salt – to taste
- About 3 1/2 Water Use more or less water
- a pinch Asafetida
- 2 tablespoons Cashew nuts
- 5-6 Curry leaves
- 1-2 Whole red chilies, dried
- Dry roast moong dal. Wash rice.
- Turn on the Instant Pot on Saute’ mode, add 1 tablespoon ghee, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper, and salt to taste. Add the roasted moong dal, rice, water. Close the lid, cook on manual mode for 12 minutes.
If using pressure cooker, pressure cook the Pongal for about 4 whistles.I like the Pongal a bit on the mushy side. You may add more or less water than mentioned for getting the desired consistency.
- Let the pressure release on it’s own. Open the Instant Pot / Pressure cooker lid and and mix the Pongal really well.
For tadka or tempering:
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of ghee. Add asafetida, 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger, curry leaves, and cashews, whole red chilies. Saute’ for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and pour the tadka over Pongal.Enjoy it with coconut chutney.
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