Venn Pongal- A dish packed with Flavour!

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

Hence it seemed apt to submit this dish for the Monthly Mingle #6 blogging event organized by Meeta of What’s for lunch honey.


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

Serves 4


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!!!:-))


  1. Meeta said

    Oh I used to love Kichidi when my Nani used to make it for me. I have to try out this version. Sounds divine. I am also honored that you chose the MM to be your first blog event. Hope you will become a regular.

  2. Lakshmi said

    Yes, truly venpongal reminds me of home and mom’s cooking. It is my all time favourite food.

  3. Puspha said

    Never tasted a savoury ponggal. Thanx for sharing.

  4. Asha said

    Love savory pongal, yum! Have fun with your ‘official taster’ and have a great Thanksgiving:))

  5. Nalini said

    Meeta, Thanks for organizing the event and accepting my entry. Will definitely try and be a regular at this event!

    Lakshmi, join the pongal club:-))

    Puspha, hope this recipe works for you.

    Asha, thanks and same to you too!! Am sure ppl would be flocking at your door to enjoy your delicious and diverse cooking. I would if I could!!:-))

  6. Trupti said

    I made this on Thursday for my kids…and I’ve also posted a blog on it. This is a fabulous recipe, and so healthy too!


  7. RP said

    Nice entry!
    I make something similar, but without pepper, cumin and cashews. I will try this next time.

  8. Ashwini said

    Thanks for your wishes on my blog Nalini….you know this is my favorite South Indian dish even more than dosa. When I was in Bangalore I used to live on pongal from Santhi Sagar and Darshini!!

  9. Very good Recipes
    Well HAPPY PONGAL. I was looking for some variation in chutneys and the coconut cilantro chutney won my heart. Will attempt it this weekend. Thanks for the blog, I will add it to some link on my blog later on.

  10. Can you please state the kind of rice ideal for Venn-Pongal? Thanks.

  11. roopa said

    hi…venpongal came out very well. hubby and kids loved it. thanx a lot for sharing such a wonderful receipe.

  12. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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