Friday, January 13, 2012

Ven Pongal / Kaara Pongal - Pongalo Pongal!!!

Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is the salted version (Ven denotes its white (actually off-white) color) and is often made along with Chakra Pongal (sweet) on the day of Makara Sankrati aka Pongal festival.

I'm posting the recipe, well in advance, for the benefit of my friends, especially those who are trying this for the first time.  A lot of my friends got married last year and this is their first Pongal festival celebrated together with their spouse after their wedding; here's wishing them a joyful Thala Pongal :-) Hope you get inspired by the pictures to try Pongal in your kitchen too.

According to the tradition, we boil milk in a wide-mouthed vessel (a big one, decorated with turmeric bunch / manja kothu ) and right when it boils and is about to over-flow, there is a chorus "Pongalo Pongal" from the entire family after which we do Namaskarams  (prayers) and pray for all good things to happen in the following year! Pongal in Tamil means "over-flowing" and symbolizes an over-flow of cash/prosperity as well as happiness in the family.

Over to the method of preparation of Pongal -

Ven Pongal/ Kaara Pongal

You Need -

Rice - 1 cup
Moong Dal - 1/2 cup
Black pepper - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Cumin / Jeera - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Cashewnuts - about 12 to 15
Ginger, finely chopped or grated - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few 
Ghee - 1/4 cup (or a little more)
Salt - to taste (~1 tsp)

How To -

  • Rinse moong dal well by changing water about 3 or 4 times. Drain water completely and roast until its slightly reddish in color. (No oil required)

  •  Rinse rice thrice till water runs clear (almost).
  •  Boil 4 cups of water in a big pot (Ponga paanai) and then add the rinsed rice and roasted moong dal. When they are almost cooked, add salt and let it get slightly over-cooked (kozhaiya veganum). Finally, mash well using a potato-masher or any similar tool.
    • You can also pressure-cook rice and moong dal to get it done quickly. Actually, pressure-cooking (3 or 4 whistles) is better as it's easier to get a nicely mashed mixture.
    • I would like to add half-milk and half-water(just like for Chakra Pongal) to cook rice and moong dal to give it an enhanced taste.
  •  Next, coarsely powder jeera and pepper in an electric mixer or coffee grinder. 
  • Chop cashewnuts and ginger and keep them ready.
  • Take a deep kadai/wok, heat 2-3 tbsp of ghee and roast cashews first. Then, heat 2tbsp of oil and add pepper+jeera powder, let splutter and then add ginger. Fry for another minute and then add curry leaves. 

Tempering for Pongal

 Add the mashed rice+ dal mixture to the kadai and mix well. Add the remaining ghee, gradually, to prevent rice from sticking to the kadai.

VenPongal with Sambar and Onion Chutney

Serve with Gotsu or Sambar and any Chutney. Here's Onion Chutney and here's a quick Vegetable Chutney.

Notes :

Usually, I double the quantities of rice and moong dal (roasted) and pressure-cook them without salt. I use half of this for Ven Pongal and the other half for Chakra Pongal.


  1. Love this kind of savoury snack.

  2. Pongal looks delicious. too good...! I am hosting my first blog event plus giveaway - Valentines Special. Do check it out and be a part of it. Would be great..!

    My event- Valentines Day Special

  3. Drooling here...yummy looking

  4. Wow!!Look so delicious….Thanks for sharing
    Midweek Fiesta

  5. Very delicious pongal and i love the chutney on the side :)

  6. looks delicious. love the flavors.

  7. Lovely blog. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Hope you enjoyed pongal.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.


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