December 23, 2011


How can I miss vennpongal (spicy pongal), especially during this auspicious month of 'Margazhi' (Tamil month)? 

Margazhi instantly reminds me of 2 things - 'Vennpongal' & 'Thiruppavai' (spiritual verses on Lord Perumal). Lord Sri Krishna Himself, has sung in Bhagavad Gita that "of the twelve Tamil months, He is Margazhi" and thus, this month has its own spiritual significance and in this month He is offered with His favorites - 'Thiruppavai' & ' Vennpongal'. There is nothing in the world that can stand upto this delicious 'Perumal Kovil Prasadam'.

Otherwise, vennpongal is one of the main breakfast items in southern part of India. It goes very well with kathirikkai gothsu (spicy eggplant gravy) / chutneys & sambar.

Raw rice - 3/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Grated ginger - 1/4 teaspoon
Black peppercorns - 1/4 teaspoon (I always powder peppercorns in a mixer)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee - 3-5 tablespoons
Curry leaves - Few
Cashews - 6 - 8 nos
Water - 3 cups
Salt - to taste

Fry moong dal in a pan until brown (or) until nice aroma comes out of it. Wash the rice & cook with moong dal in 3 cups of water and salt in a pressure cooker for upto 3-4 whistles. 

In the meanwhile, heat ghee in a small pan, and roast cashews until brown, followed by cumin seeds until nice smell fills the air. Remove from heat and add curry leaves to it.

Transfer the cooked rice/dal into a serving bowl. Mash the rice & dal together with a ladle. Add, roasted cashews, cumin seeds, powdered peppercorns, grated ginger. Pour the remaining ghee on top of pongal, mix well & serve.

Enjoy hot pongal with any side of your choice.

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