- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 cup yellow lentils
- 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee) or regular unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns
- 5-6 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1/2 tsp asafetida
- 1 tsp grated or finely chopped ginger
- 10 cashew nuts
- 1 green chili (optional)
- salt to taste
Each January people in Southern India and Sri Lanka celebrate their winter harvest festival, Pongal. During these festivities, a hearty and sumptuous breakfast is made called ‘ven pongal.’
The main ingredients are rice, yellow lentils, cashew nuts, and spices all cooked to a creamy consistency.
This is a dish for a leisurely Sunday morning–delicious, indulgent and, above all, comforting. At the same time, pongal is also a healthy start to the day. Especially, the lentils are filling and provide fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
It is considered slightly blasphemous, but you can use vegetable oil instead of butter or ghee as well. The taste will be different, less rich but the calorie count will be down as well.
Like with so many other recipes around the world, every household has their version of pongal. Whatever the differences are, this special breakfast brings a great sense of occasion and proper nourishment to every morning.
How to make Pongal
Here is a tip for a beautiful presentation of the dish:
Fill a small bowl to the top with pongal and press down lightly. Cover the bowl with the breakfast plate and turn it all upside down. Now you have the bowl sitting upside down on the plate. Gently lift it to reveal a professional looking dome-shaped breakfast pongal.
For many people, this hearty recipe might not be suitable for breakfast time. No problem, have it for brunch, lunch, as an afternoon snack or as part of your dinner.