Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is a spicy & savory rice dish that is rich, healthy, and delicious. It is specially prepared during the harvest festival of Sankranti.
It is also prepared in South Indian homes for special occasions like pooja, marriages, or in temples as naivedyam. Here is how to make it.
I absolutely love South Indian festivals!
I remember during my stay in Bangalore, our neighbors used to invite us for lunch during the festivals and I was always bowled over with the variety of dishes they used to serve.
The best part I used to love eating in Banana leaf and till now whenever I make something South Indian, I sometimes bring Banana Leaves to serve them.
I can say that food was the best part of my stay during Bangalore!
I tried many South Indian dishes during this Bangalore stay, but one dish that caught my attention during these festive meals was this Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal.
So simple to make, yet so delicious, I was amazed to see how such a simple dish can taste so good, that you actually crave it.
It has a khara flavor and a fine taste of pepper and ghee as well.
This rice dish must surely be tried if you are a fan of rice-based dishes.
You need a very few everyday ingredients to make this one!
It can be had for breakfast or also for your everyday meals along with Sambar, which is a very popular combination too.
Don’t wait anymore!
Experience the subtle and simple taste of South India with this Khara Pongal and serve it with Sambar of your choice.
What is Pongal?
Pongal is a 4-day long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. It is the only festival in India that follows a solar calendar.
This festival is dedicated to the sun god and is celebrated on 14th January every year.
A lot of food is prepared on this day and is shared with friends and family and Khara Pongal or Ghee Pongal is one of the specialties prepared for the festival.
People make rangoli or Kolam in various designs outside their house, send greetings to family and friends.
Sweet Pongal also called Chakkara or Sakkarai Pongal is also prepared for this festival.
What is Ven Pongal?
Also known as Khara Pongal, it is a spicy and savory rice dish that is rich, healthy, and delicious.
It is basically a South Indian version of North Indian Dal Khichdi.
Specially prepared during the harvest festival of Sankranti in South India, this dish is a one-pot meal.
This tasty porridge is often eaten for breakfast or lunch, either by itself or accompanied by pickles and papads.
It is comfort food for South Indians and since it is light on the stomach, it can be had for any meal of the day.
Ven Pongal Sambar is a favorite combination too and is served in many restaurants and so is Ghee Pongal.
There are slight variations in the way people make it.
There is Iyengar Style Pongal and there is Andhra Style Pongal.
Temples have their own recipe to make this dish and so does the hotels.
It is traditionally served on a banana leaf with coconut chutney.
The only thing common is the use of rice and moong dal and this homemade recipe is great to enjoy this dish in all its glory.
Sakkarai Pongal is a variation of this dish but is sweetened with jaggery.
You can even make aval or poha pongal, oats pongal and pongal using quinoa.
Pro Tips by Neha
This tastes best when prepared fresh. Make the quantity only for one meal.
Use any small grain rice to make Pongal.
Seeraga Samba rice is traditionally used in South Indian homes but even Sona Masuri or Parmal will do.
In case you have leftover, add some water to it before refrigerating. It with become thicker when refrigerated and adding some water to it will take care of the consistency.
Some people make very thick Pongal. If you like that consistency, then use little less water as mentioned below.
I like my Pongal consistency a little flowy hence used 3 cups of water.
You can add chopped vegetables like peas, carrots, etc to make this recipe healthier.
Adding ghee is very important otherwise the Pongal with turn pasty.
Some people add a little milk in their recipe. You can try it too. Add ½ cup milk once the pongal is done and cook it for another 5 minutes. You can even try adding some coconut milk to it.
I have had it with a little grated fresh coconut added to it and it tastes delicious too.
Pongal Sambar is a very popular combination. You can also serve it with curd, papad, and pickle for a quick meal.
Kootu also goes well with hot Ven Pongal.
Other popular dishes to serve with this are Onion Gothsu, Kathirikai Gothsu or Kalyana Gothsu.
When serving it for breakfast, do not forget to make Filter Coffee along with it.
How to cook it in a rice cooker?
If you want to cook it in a rice cooker, just roast the dal in a pan and then add dal, rice, water, and salt in a rice cooker.
Cook until rice and dal are cooked well. Then prepare tempering in a pan and pour it over the Pongal.
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Step By Step Recipe
Dry roast the dal in a pressure cooker until it is slightly fragrant.
Add the rice in the pressure cooker and wash the dal and rice.
Add 4 cups of water, ginger and salt, and pressure cook till done.
Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure release.
Slightly mash the pongal with the back of a ladle until it is slightly mushy and creamy. Add more water if required.
Heat ghee in a pan.
Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves, green chilli, and peppercorns and let them crackle for a few seconds.
Add cashew nuts and fry until they are slightly browned.
Pour the tempering over the pongal. Mix and simmer for a minute. Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
Ven Pongal Recipe
- ½ cup Raw rice
- ½ cup Moong dal
- 3 cups Water
- Salt (To taste)
- 1 tsp Ginger (Grated)
For the tempering
- 3 tbsp Ghee
- 1 tsp Zeera
- ¼ tsp Heeng
- 10-12 Curry leaves
- 2 Green chillies (Slit into halves)
- 10-12 Cashew nuts
- 10-12 Black peppercorns (Coarsely ground)
- Dry roast the dal in a pressure cooker until it is slightly fragrant and browned.
- Add the rice in the pressure cooker and wash the dal and rice.
- Add water, ginger and salt and pressure cook till done. I cooked for one whistle on high heat and then 2 whistles on low heat.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and let the pressure release.
- Slightly mash the pongal with the back of a ladle until it is slightly mushy and creamy.
- Add more water if required.
- Heat ghee in a pan.
- Once the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds, heeng, curry leaves, green chilli and peppercorns and let them crackle for a few seconds.
- Add cashew nuts and fry until they are slightly browned.
- Pour the tempering over the pongal.
- Mix and simmer for a minute.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney and sambhar.
You can check more Sankranti Recipes here.