Ven Pongal

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Ven Pongal is a popular breakfast dish of South India. Though there are different varieties of Pongal prepared in different states, this Ven Pongal is especially from Tamil Nadu Cuisine. In Tamil language, 'Ven' means white, and so that the dish follows. The main ingredients that goes in this dish are ghee, pepper, cumin, rice and split de-husked green gram. The rice and lentil cooked along with other spices makes it a creamy pudding like dish. The dish mainly calls for a whole black pepper, without it being crushed as the outer shell serves to seal in freshness, which also gives a pungent aroma and robust flavour in the dish. And of course, the other flavorful ingredients also constitutes to the taste of the traditional, Ven Pongal.


1. Rice- 3/4 cup
2. Split de husked green gram/moong dal - 1/4 cup
3. Pepper - 25 gms
4. Cumin - 25 gms
5. Ginger - 50 gm
6. Curry leaves - few
7. Oil - 3 tbsp.
8. Clarified butter /ghee - 4 tbsp.
9. Cashews - 8 to 10 nos. (split into half)
10. Asafoetida/hing - a pinch
11. Water - 3 cups
12. Salt to taste

Cooking Method:

1. Clean and wash the rice and moong dal together and soak in the water for about half an hour.

2. Add the rice and moong dal to the pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and allow it to boil by not closing the lid tightly. In the meanwhile, heat the oil and 3 tbsp. of ghee in a pan, adding asafoetida, mustard seeds, curry leaves, grated ginger, whole pepper, cumin seeds and fry this for around 5 min. keeping in low flame.

3. Add the fried ingredients to the rice and moong dal in the pressure cooker and close the lid finally adding salt.

4. After 2 whistles in the pressure cooker, keep the flame on low for 10 minutes and then switch off the flame.

5. Garnish the Ven Pongal with roasted cashews in ghee and serve this warm bowl of Ven Pongal with Tomato Kurma, which gives a delicious combination to this Pongal. The Ven Pongal can also be relished with coconut chutney, which also gives a nice rich taste to this mouth watering Ven Pongal.

Ingredients for Tomato Kurma (Curry):

1. Tomotoes - 250 gm
2. Onions - 1 no.
3. Green chillies - 8 no.
4. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
5. Curry leaves - few
6. Turmeric - a pinch
7.. Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp.
8. Chilly powder - 1/4 tsp.
9. Oil - 2 to 3 tbsp.
10. Salt to taste

Ingredients to blend into a paste for Kurma:

1. Coconut - a small piece or grated coconut 2 tbsp.
2. Roasted bengal gram/bhuna channa/putanala pappu - handful
3. Cinnamon - 1/2 cm. (small piece)
4. Cloves - 2 no.
5. Garlic - 4 to 5 pods
6. Ginger - 1/2 cm. (small piece)

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Cooking Method:

1. Chop onions, tomatoes and slit the green chillies and keep them aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. Once mustard seeds crackle, add green chilies, followed by onions, curry leaves and tomatoes one by one leaving 2 minutes after every ingredient.

3. After the tomatoes are half done, add salt, turmeric, coriander powder and chilly powder. Let the tomatoes get mashed well while getting cooked.

4. Mix the ground paste adding half a cup of water. Allow it to boil until all the ingredients gets blends well. Turn off the flame and finally garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Ven Pongal, or dosas or idlies.



1. The split de husked green gram dal can be increased in the pongal but the colour changes. It is purely optional that dal can be added in equal proportion to rice. The dal can also be dry roasted before cleaning it as this will again gives a flavour to the overall dish.

2. Adding crushed black pepper again changes the colour too to the dish.

3. The dish can also be prepared by adding chopped coconut pieces, turmeric and crushed pepper, which is called pongal but not Ven Pongal.

4. Chopped garlic also can be added to the dish if the dish is not prepared for festival or fasting days, which is served as prasadam/Neivedyam to the god.

5. For the Ven Pongal, Ghostu, called in Tamil language (bringal curry) is prepared, which also is a very nice acompaniment to the Ven pongal.