Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Madras Special- Ven Pongal with coconut chutney

Ven pongal  is a rice and lentil dish similar to a khichdi and is a very popular breakfast in south India especially in my city Madras. Pongal is also the name of the Harvest festival of the South. Pong means "spill or boil over" and this is a ritual that is still carried out during this festival. The milk and rice is cooked in a pot and allowed to boil over and this is considered very auspicious as it symbolizes abundance. 

Pongal which is also known as Sankranti/Lohri/Bihu in other parts of India commemorates the Sun travelling northward towards the equinox and marks the end of the harvest season in the south. This festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and involves a lot of feasting. The other variety of pongal- sweet pongal using jaggery is commonly offered during the Pongal celebrations. I am sharing with you my recipe for ven pongal, a simple savoury breakfast paired perfectly with coconut chutney.

Ven Pongal with coconut chutney

Recipe                                                                                              Print Recipe

Serves 2-3


1 cup Medium grain raw rice (not boiled or parboilled)
1/2 cup Split yellow moong dal
Salt to taste

For the tempering
2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
10 Curry leaves
3-4 Cloves
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 tsp Asfoetida Powder
3 tbsp Ghee

10-15 cashewnuts
1 tsp Ghee

For the Coconut Chutney
1 cup Coconut- chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup Roasted chana dal
1/2 inch ginger
2 green chillis
2 tbsp coriander leaves

For the Chutney Tempering
a pinch of Asfoetida powder
2 Dry red chilli
1/4 tsp Urad dal (split)
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
7-8 Curry Leaves
2 tsp oil


Coconut Chutney

Grind all the ingredients with enough water to get a smooth paste with the desired consistency of the chutney. I like it thick so I add less water but you can choose to have it as thick or thin as you like. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, asfoetida, curry leaves and dry chilli. Let the mustard seeds pop and then add the seasoning to the chutney and give it a good mix.  Coconut chutney is ready.

Coconut chutney


1. I add coriander leaves to the chutney as I like the flavour and the colour it imparts to the chutney, you can choose to leave it out if you don't like coriander.

2. The coconut pieces should be cut into small pieces to ensure smooth grinding. 

3. Water should be added little by little till you get the desired consistency. 


Wash the rice and dal thoroughly till the water you wash it in remains clear. In the pressure cooker heat a tsp of ghee and add the rice and dal to it. Fry it for 5 minutes in the hot ghee uncovered. Now add 3 cups of water followed by salt (to taste) to the pressure cooker and place the lid on it. Let it pressure cook for 3 whistles or about 10 minutes till rice and dal are completely cooked through and mushy.

Prepare the tempering by heating 2 tsp of ghee and adding cumin seeds, asfoetida, pepper, curry leaves and cloves to it followed by the ginger. Let the cumin seeds turn brown and then mix the seasoning with the cooked rice and dal mixture. Give it a good mix so that everything is well combined.

Fry the cashew nuts in a tsp of ghee and mix it with the pongal and leave a few for garnish. Serve the pongal topped with crunchy cashews with a side of coconut chutney.



  1. Perfect on a cold Sunday morning with a drench of Ghee on top..

  2. Absolutely right Asha, it tates divine with the added goodness of ghee. I have enjoyed many a Sunday mornings with this for breakfast :)

  3. Lovely pongal, delicious and fingerlicking good.

    today's post:

  4. That looks so interesting and I love how when it overflows that's a sign of abundance (hehe I'm always overflowing pots due to inattention ;)).

    1. @lorraine I know right, happens to me whenever I am going to have people over, seriously bad timing, not to forget all the cleaning up after. Hehe but yeah it is a custom that is observed even during housewarming, the milk overflowing is considered very auspicious :) Thanks for dropping by!

  5. Delicious pongal dear :) first time here and happy to follow you :)Do visit my blog when you get time :)