Venn Pongal, a traditional dish in South India is the equivalent to kichidi made in North India. It is basically a rice and moong dal that is over cooked and dressed up with spices. In kichidi, ginger and jeera are invariably used while in Pongal it is ginger,pepper and jeera that produce the glorious taste. ‘Venn’ is actually ‘vellai’ which means white in tamil.Since the end result is a nice creamy white rice with risotto like consistency, it is called thus. Back home, my appa is very fond of this dish and it made frequent appearances in my amma’s tiffin menu. Well, after getting hitched, I found that this dish ranks first in hubby’s tiffin choices too!!
Venn Pongal is also a star dish for Pongal which is also a festival( sometimes called harvest festival) celebrated in my home state of Tamil Nadu to give thanks to nature for endowing us with abundance of crops especially rice, the staple food of southern India.For more information of this festival check out http://www.pongalfestival.org/pongal-festival.html.
This is the first blogging event I am participating in after I started my blog and I am as apprehensive as a high school student taking her final exams :-))). I hope this debut is at least a decent success!! So this dish is to ‘give thanks’ to my husband for being a supportive, caring better half and most importantly for being the tolerant, ‘official taster’ of all my culinary experiments, good or bad.
I made Venn pongal last evening for our dinner with coconut-cilanthro chutney. My MIL taught me how to make this first and here I have adapted her recipe with my variations. So below is the recipe
1 and1/4 cup of rice
1/3 cup moong dal
7 cups of water
1/2 tbspoon cumin seeds
1 tbspoon peppercorns
2-3 tbspoons ghee
1/4 inch ginger chopped fine
2 tbspoons cashew nuts
some curry leaves
salt to taste
First take the cumin with half the peppercorns and grind into a coarse mixture.
In a pressure pan first dry roast the moong dal until it loses its raw smell and turns slightly brown. Add the rice to this and switch off the stove. Keep this aside.
Again in the pan add about 1 tspoon of ghee and fry the cashew nuts until goldern brown. Remove and reserve it.
In the same pan put in another tspoon of ghee and fry coarsely the ground cumin-peppercorn mixture and the remaining peppercorns . Then add chopped ginger pieces and curry leaves. Wait a minute and then add roasted rice, moong dal ,salt to taste and mix all the stuff in the pan roughly. Pour the 7 cups of water to this.Close the pressure pan ,turn heat to medium and put the weight on. Switch off after one whistle and wait for the pressure to reduce. Open pan, throw in reserved cashew nuts and remaining amount of ghee. Mix the somewhat semi solid rice thoroughly and serve with a dollop of ghee and a side of cilanthro-coconut chutney.
1. If you feel that there is excess water in the pongal, heat pan in medium-low until rice thickens.
2. One can also add the fried cumin-peppercorn mixture to cooked rice-moong mixture. I used to do this before but found it very difficult to mix everything in the pongal.
3. The more the ghee ,more the cholestrol but better the taste!!!:-))