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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to make Ven Pongal

To symbolize a bountiful harvest during the Pongal festival, a deliciously aromatic mixture of rice and moong dal is cooked to the boiling point on an open fire. After the rice has cooked, it is then garnished with cashew nuts fried in ghee. The freshly made Pongal dish is then offered to the sun god on a new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies, like vadas and payasam.

  • Rice 1 cup
  • Moong Dal 1 cup
  • Water 6 cups
  • Green Chillies 3
  • Ginger 1/4 inch
  • Ghee 2 tsp.
  • Whole black pepper 2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder - a pinch
  • Cashew nuts 10 - 15
  • Curry leaves


Mix 1 cup rice and 1 cup moong dal (split beans). Add 3 times water (6 cups) and steam until it is cooked. Cut 3 green chillies and 1/4 inch ginger into fine pieces. Take 2 tsp ghee in a frying pan and add 1 tsp whole black peppers, and 1 tsp cumin seeds. When the peppers burst add chillies, ginger pieces and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add cashew nuts and remove the pan when the cashews are roasted and begin to smell. Add this to cooked dal-rice mix. Add 1/2 tsp salt, a sprig of curry leaves and mix well. Add some ghee while serving.

Serve it with a coconut chutney, or onion and tomato raita. It is best eaten when fresh and hot.

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