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8 Tasty Recipes of Pongal/Pongali - the Authentic Indian Porridge

Mallika is a foodie who loves her native Indian cuisine. She enjoys exploring the cuisine and sharing it with others.

Indian cuisine is blessed with many authentic and healthy dishes. Among the platter of tasty and hot piping dishes, one such authentic and delicious dish is Pongali or Pongal. It is a traditional comfort food belonging to South Indian cuisine. It is known as Kichidi in North India. Kichidi is similar to Pongal in taste and ingredients but Pongal has porridge-like texture where Kichidi has cooked white rice-like texture. The recipe has usage of tempering technique before or after the dish is prepared and tempering spices like cumin, red chillis, split black gram, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves.

The Indian harvest festival, Sankranthi is named after this dish as "Pongal". In the Tamil language, the term Pongal means boiling/bubbling up. It is a tasty one-pot and any time dish which can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. It is served piping hot and enjoyed best when eaten with a spicy side dish.

Cuisine: South India

Type: Rice and lentil/dal dish; short-grain rice and green gram/moong dal are the main ingredients.

Side dishes: Chutneys like Roasted chickpea chutney, coconut chutney, Groundnut chutney, onion&Tomato chutney, Tomato pickle, sambhar and raitha.

This article presents eight tasty Pongal recipes. Let's see the recipes:

Sweet Pongal

Sweet Pongal

1. Sweet Pongal:

It is the sweet version of the dish. Traditionally this dish is cooked during Sankranthi, the harvest festival. It is cooked with freshly harvested rice grains and Green gram/moong dal with new Jaggery and milk in a new earthen pot on a traditional firewood stove. The rice is cooked by boiling and bubbling in the pot. It is offered to Sun God and other deities as an offering for the new harvest and the blessings of the abundant crops. It is also one of the popular foods offered in South Indian temples as prasad, especially, in the period of Dhanurmasa which falls between mid-December to mid-January.

Other names: Sakkarai pongal, paal pongal, huggi, chakkara pongali, bellam pongali and paramannam

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Jaggery powder= 1 cup
  4. Milk= 1/2 cup
  5. Water= 3&1/2 cup
  6. Green cardamom powder= 1/4th tsp.
  7. Black pepper powder= 1/4th tsp.
  8. Ghee roasted cashew nuts= 1tbsp.
  9. Ghee/clarified butter=2 tbsp, divided

Procedure:

  • Step 1: Clean the rice and dal and mix them in a vessel. Wash the rice with water and drain the water. Pour the required quantity of water to the rice. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Put a thick-bottomed cooking vessel on the stove and keep the flame low. Let the vessel be heated. Add 1 tbsp. ghee to the vessel and let it heat. Add cashew nuts and roast for 1 minute. Do not burn the nuts.
  • Add rice mixture along with water to the vessel and raise the heat to medium-high and let the rice and dal boil for ten minutes. Add milk to the rice and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
  • When the rice is cooked 90 per cent, add the powdered jaggery and spices and low the heat to medium-low. Mix the rice well so that the jaggery dissolves. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Check the sweetness and add jaggery if needed according to the taste.
  • When the consistency becomes like porridge, pour the remaining ghee and switch off the stove. Put a lid on the vessel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy.
Venn/Spicy pongal

Venn/Spicy pongal

2. Spicy Pongal:

It is the spicy and healthy version of Pongal. Traditionally it is also cooked and offered to deities on the harvest festival and it is one of the temple prasad. Another significance of this Pongal is that it is also an ayurvedic recipe. It is very healthy comfort food to consume and enjoy in winter months.

Other names: Venn Pongal, Khara Pongal, Melagu(peppar) Pongal.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 4 to 5 cups depending on the consistency
  4. Black pepper corns= 1 tsp.
  5. Fresh ginger grated= 2 tsp.
  6. Fresh coconut, cut into small pieces= 1 tbsp.
  7. Ghee/cow ghee= 1 tbsp.
  8. Salt= as per taste
  9. Turmeric powder= 1/4th tsp.
  10. Cashew nuts= 1tbsp. (optional)

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.
  5. Split chana dal/Bengal gram= 1 tsp. (optional)

Procedure:

  • Follow Step 1.
  • Put a thick-bottomed cooking vessel on the stove and keep the flame low. Let the vessel be heated. Add 1 tbsp. of cow ghee to the vessel and let it heat. Cow ghee is more healthy than normal ghee or clarified butter.
  • Add the tempering spices to the ghee and let them sputter. Add cashew nuts and roast them lightly. Take care not to burn the spices and nuts.
  • Add turmeric powder, grated ginger and fresh coconut and saute for a minute. Add rice and dal mixture along with water and add salt as per taste. Mix the ingredients well and increase the flame to medium to high and let the rice boil for 10 minutes.
  • When the rice is cooked and becomes mushy like porridge consistency, lower the flame and add peppercorns and check the seasoning. Stir the rice once so that all ingredients are mixed well. Switch off the stove and close the lid. Serve hot after 2 to 3 minutes.

Note: 1. The peppercorns can be used as whole or lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle but shouldn't be used in powder form as crushed pepper gives better taste and flavour to this dish.

2.This dish can be cooked in an individual cooking vessel or a pressure cooker. If it is cooked in a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients and keep the lid. Switch off the stove after 3 to 4 whistles and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, open the cooker lid and mix the Pongal and serve.

Tamarind/Puli pongal

Tamarind/Puli pongal

3. Tamarind/Puli Pongal:

Tamarind Pongal is a spicy Pongal which has the usage of tamarind juice in the recipe. It is the key ingredient. It is known as Puli Pongal in the Tamil language as Puli means tamarind.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice/broken rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups
  4. Ginger,grated= 2 tsps.
  5. Turmeric powder= 1/4th tsp.
  6. Salt= as per taste
  7. Ripe tamarind= small lemon size
  8. Ghee/oil= 2 tbsp.

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.
  5. Cashew nuts= 1 tbsp. (optional)
  6. Whole black pepper corns= 1 tsp.
  7. Asafoetida= 1/4th tsp.

Spice powder:

  1. Dry red chillis= 2 to 3
  2. Coriander seeds= 2 tsps.

Procedure:

  • Follow step 1.
  • To make the spice powder, take a pan and dry roast the dry red chillis and coriander seeds for 2 to 3 minutes and transfer them to a clean plate. Let the spices to be cooled and blend them to a coarse powder in a mixing jar.
  • Take lemon size ripe tamarind and soak it in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes. Crush the tamarind to a pulp with fingers and remove seeds and extract the juice through a strainer. The juice can be thick or thin according to the water used for soaking.
  • Take a pressure cooker and let it heat on low heat. Add ghee or oil and add the tempering spices and let them sputter. Add the cashew nuts and roast them lightly. Add turmeric powder, ginger, asafoetida and saute for a minute.
  • Then add tamarind juice and mix. Let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes till the oil is separating lightly. Add rice and dal mixture along with water. Add salt and redchilli+coriander spice powder and mix well. Check the seasoning. Close the cooker with the lid and cook until 3 to 4 whistles.
  • Switch off the stove and let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and mix the Pongal well and serve hot with sambhar or chutney.
Sambhar Pongal

Sambhar Pongal

4. Sambhar Pongal:

The recipe of sambhar Pongal is similar to Bisi Bele bath but in Bisi Bela bath, the lentil, pigeon pea or toor dal is used along with rice. Here green gram or moong dal is used.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups
  4. Onion, chopped= 1 medium size
  5. Tomato, chopped= 1 medium-size or 2 small size
  6. Mixed vegetables(potato+carrot+drum sticks), small cubed= 1 cup
  7. Turmeric powder= 1/4th tsp.
  8. Red chilli powder= 1 tsp.
  9. Sambhar powder= 3 tsps.
  10. Salt= as per taste
  11. Ripe tamarind= small lemon size
  12. Oil= 2 tbsp.

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.
  5. Whole black pepper corns= 1/2 tsp.
  6. Asafoetida= 1/4th tsp.
  7. Dry red chillis= 2

Procedure:

  • Follow step 1.
  • Take lemon size ripe tamarind and soak it in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes. Crush the tamarind to a pulp with fingers and remove seeds and extract the juice through a strainer. The juice can be thick or thin according to the water used for soaking.
  • Take a heavy-bottomed vessel or pressure cooker and heat it on a low flame. Pour oil and let it heat and add all the ingredients for tempering. Let them sputter.
  • Add onions and saute for one minute. Then add tomatoes and let them soften. Add the mixed vegetables and add turmeric and a half tsp. salt and let them cook for 5 minutes till they are half cooked.
  • Add tamarind juice and cook for 2 minutes till the oil separates. Add red chilli powder, sambhar powder and mix well. Add the rice and dal along with water and add salt as per taste. Mix well and close the lid. If the pressure cooker is used, cook till 3 to 4 whistles and switch off the stove.
  • If a vessel is used for cooking, cook for 10 to 15 minutes until rice and vegetables are cooked till the dish achieves porridge consistency. Stir the Pongal occasionally. Switch off the stove and wait for 2 to 3 minutes and serve hot with papad.
Tomato Pongal

Tomato Pongal

5. Tomato Pongal:

This recipe is a slight variation of Venn Pongal in which tomatoes and green chillis are used. It is the spiciest variety and one of my favourites.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups
  4. Green chillis, chopped= 3 to 4
  5. Tomatoes= 1 large or 2 medium, chopped
  6. Ghee/oil= 1 tbsp.
  7. Turmeric powder= 1/4th tsp.
  8. Crushed black pepper corns=2 tsps.
  9. Salt= as per taste

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.

Procedure:

  • Follow step 1.
  • Take a pressure cooker and let it heat on low heat. Add ghee or oil and add the tempering spices and let them sputter. Add green chillis and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add rice and dal mixture along with water. Add turmeric powder, crushed pepper and salt. Check the seasoning and mix well. Close the cooker with the lid and cook until 3 to 4 whistles.
  • Switch off the stove and let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and mix the Pongal well and serve hot with Onion&Tomato chutney. A spicy Pongal with a spicy side dish.
Masala Pongal

Masala Pongal

6. Masala Pongal:

This recipe is similar to masala kichidi.

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups
  4. Onion, chopped= 1 medium size
  5. Tomato, chopped= 1 medium-size or 2 small size
  6. Mixed vegetables(potato+carrot+green peas+cauliflower), small cubed= 1 cup
  7. Turmeric powder= 1/4th tsp.
  8. Red chilli powder= 1 tsp.
  9. Garam masala= 2 tsps.
  10. Ginger+garlic paste=1 tsp.
  11. Salt= as per taste
  12. Oil= 2 tbsp.
  13. Fresh corriander= 1 tbsp.

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Dry red chillis= 2
  5. Whole black pepper corns= 1/2 tsp.

Procedure:

  • Follow step 1.
  • Take a heavy-bottomed vessel or pressure cooker and heat it on a low flame. Pour oil and let it heat and add all the ingredients for tempering. Let them sputter.
  • Add onions and saute for one minute. Add ginger+garlic paste and saute for another minute. Then add tomatoes and let them soften. Add the mixed vegetables and add turmeric and a half tsp. salt and let them cook for 5 minutes till they are cooked.
  • Add red chilli powder and garam masala powder and mix well. Add the rice and dal along with water and add salt as per taste. Mix well and then add chopped fresh coriander. Close the lid. If the pressure cooker is used, cook till 3 to 4 whistles and switch off the stove.
  • If a vessel is used for cooking, cook for 10 to 15 minutes until rice and vegetables are cooked till the dish achieves porridge consistency. Stir the masala Pongal occasionally. Switch off the stove and wait for 2 to 3 minutes and serve hot with raitha.
Rava Pongal

Rava Pongal

This is a quick and tasty recipe in which instead of rice, rava is used along with moong dal.

Types of ravas used: Semolina/Bombay rava, craked or broken wheat/Godhuma rava, lapsi/wheat Dalia/bulgur and rice rava; vermicelli and oats can also be used.

Ingredients:

  1. Rava= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups,divided
  4. Green chilli= 2 to 3 chopped
  5. Ghee/oil= 1 tbsp.
  6. Ginger, grated= 2 tsps.
  7. Salt= as per taste

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Black pepper corns= 1 tsp.
  5. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.
  6. Split chana dal/Bengal gram= 1 tsp.
  7. Cashew nuts= 2 tsps.
  8. Asafoetida= 1/4th tsp.

Procedure:

  • For rice Pongal, heavy-bottomed vessel or pressure cooker is used for cooking but for rava Pongal, kadai pan is used for cooking.
  • Wash the moong dal with water once and drain the water. Add 2 cups of water to it and transfer it to a pressure cooker. Add half a tsp. of salt and cook for 3 whistles till the dal is cooked soft. Mash the dal lightly with a cooking spoon. Keep it aside.
  • Take a kadai pan and heat it on a low flame. Pour oil or ghee and let it heat. Add the tempering ingredients and let them saute for a minute. Add chopped green chillis and saute for another minute.
  • Then add the cooked dal to the tempering and stir so that it mixes well. Add 3 cups of water and salt as per taste. Turn the heat to medium and keep a lid on the pan and let the water boil. When the water boils, lower the flame. Slowly add rava by continuously mixing with a spoon so that lumps of rava do not form. Mix the rava well till all the ingredients mixed.
  • Close the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes on low flame until rava Pongal is cooked. Serve hot with roasted chickpea chutney.
Millet Pongal

Millet Pongal

8. Millet Pongal:

Millet Pongal is innovative and a healthy dish. In this recipe, different varieties of millets can be used. This recipe is very healthy for diabetic people. Usage of millets and millets based dishes are popular and a new food trend these days though the recipes are present from ancient times. Ancient Indians suggested the consumption of millets daily than rice for health purposes.

Millets: The different types of millets:

  1. Great millet/Sorghum
  2. Spiked millet/pearl millet
  3. Finger millet
  4. Italian millet/foxtail millet
  5. Little millet
  6. Kodo millet
  7. common millet/proso millet
  8. Banyard millet
  9. Browntop millet

Ingredients:

  1. Any type of Millets= 1 cup
  2. Green gram/moong dal= 1/2 cup
  3. Water= 5 cups
  4. Green chilli= 2 to 3 chopped
  5. Ghee/oil= 1 tbsp.
  6. Ginger, grated= 2 tsps.
  7. Salt= as per taste

For tempering:

  1. Cumin= 1 tsp.
  2. Split black gram= 1 tsp.
  3. Black mustard seeds= 1 tsp.
  4. Fresh curry leaves= 1 tbsp.
  5. Whole black pepper corns= 1 tsp.
  6. Split chana dal/Bengal gram= 1 tsp.
  7. Cashew nuts= 2 tsps.
  8. Asafoetida= 1/4th tsp.

Procedure:

  • Mix the millets and dal and wash with water and drain the water. Add 5 cups of water and let it soak for 30 to 45 minutes. Millets should be soaked in the water for at least 30 minutes for easy cooking and reduction of cooking time.
  • Take a pressure cooker and let it heat on low heat. Add ghee or oil and add the tempering ingredients and let them sputter and saute for a minute. Add grated ginger and chopped green chillis and saute for another minute.
  • Add the millet and dal mixture along with water. Add salt and check the seasoning. Close the cooker with the lid and cook until 3 to 4 whistles.
  • Switch off the stove and let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and mix the millet Pongal well and serve hot with sambhar or chutney.

Enjoy hot and piping Pongal any time in the winter months accompanied by a tasty side dish and filter coffee.

Happy cooking!

Favorite Pongal

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