Pongal. South Indian Tamil Rice and Lentil Porridge

Pongal is a South Indian Tamil rice dish made with rice and lentils that are cooked like a thick porridge. Rice and lentils are cooked together with salt and turmeric until very tender and then mixed in with ghee and toasted black peppercorns. As comforting a dish as it can get, this is a pure clean flavor that tastes awesome with a side of spiced tomato sauce called gotsu.

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Made with white rice, lentils, turmeric, and the lovely fragrance of toasted black pepper and ghee, this rice dish will have you wanting more than you expected.

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Pongal can be made with a wide variety of lentils, in this recipe I have chosen to make pongal with small dry orange moong lentils as they cook faster than most other dry lentils.

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Mom used to make her savory pongal often and she usually topped the pongal with cashews toasted in ghee, but funnily I was never a fan of nuts and dried fruits in savory dishes, so I always set the cashews aside.  But if you like cashews and would like to add cashews as garnish, go ahead and toast a few cashews in ghee and add it on top of pongal as a delectable garnish.

Pongal. Tamil Rice and Lentil Porridge
serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup long grain rice like Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup orange moong lentils
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp asafetida powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee plus extra for garnish

Directions:

  • I used the Instapot to cook the rice and lentils.  Just add all the rice and lentils with 4 1/2 cups water, turmeric, and salt.  Place in the Instapot and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.  If making this on the stove, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and cover and cook until lentils and rice are tender – almost 30 minutes. Once the rice and lentils are cooked, set aside.

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  • In the meantime toast cumin seeds and black peppercorns on a pan for about 2-3 minutes until the aroma of cumin and pepper comes through. Cool and grind into a coarse powder in a spice mill.
  • In a pan heat 2 tbsp ghee. Add 1 tsp asafetida powder and the cumin black pepper blend. Toast for 3-5 seconds in the ghee. Next add the pongal and mix into the spice mixture.

 

  • Pongal is ready!

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  • Serve pongal with extra dollop of ghee and a side of yogurt or tomato gotsu.

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Happy Shankranthi!
Celebrating the Indian Harvest Festival .

 

11 thoughts on “Pongal. South Indian Tamil Rice and Lentil Porridge”

  1. Happy Pongal Dolly to you and your family . I also add a sprig of Fresh Curry Leaves to Ven Pongal and do not add Turmeric Powder ( although Healthy) to Make the Pongal look White ( Ven in Tamil means White) … my mom used to make a special Sambhar with Seven Vegetables ,,,, The idea is to celebrate all of Nature’s Bounties- Grains , Lentils , Vegetables and Fruits too … Your Mom made the best Pooran Poli and your Uma Aunty makes the Best Sarkarai Pongal . Pongal is our version of Thanksgiving . Enjoy !!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also, i recall your Blog on Pongal 2017 , and a grandfeast was hosted by Uma, Nando’s Wife , Uma had made all the traditional dishes including Ezhu Curry and the images were so captivating …

      Liked by 2 people

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