When you talk about Pongal festival, you definitely gotta talk about the food delicacies prepared- sakarai pongal and ven pongal! These are rice based dishes and come in sweet (sakarai pongal) and salty flavors (ven pongal). Ven pongal is not just prepared for the festivities- It is a popular dish in many south Indian homes and is often served as breakfast/tiffin. It is rich in flavor and takes minimal effort. Rice cooked with lentils and combined with pepper, cumin seeds and curry leaves provides the flavors. Highlight of this dish?cashewnuts sauteed in butter/ghee simply catapults this dish to a different height! Don't believe me? Check out-
1 cup rice
1/2 cup moong dal (yellow lentils)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper seeds
1/2 tsp grated ginger
dash of asafoetida powder
chopped curry leaves (4 to 5)
2-3 tbsp ghee or butter (generally you work with ghee for this dish- but I had to substitute cooking butter)
Salt (according to taste)
oil to saute spices
Step 1 is to cook the rice with lentils- Wash the uncooked rice and keep it separate. Dry roast the lentils on a pan before mixing to your rice-Cook the rice with roasted lentils by adding 3-4 cups of water and salt according to your taste. Once cooked, keep it aside. Coarsely crush the peppercorns and cumin seeds. In a frying pan, add oil and saute ginger. Add the crushed pepper and cumin seeds with curry leaves. Mix in a dash of asafoetida powder and saute for a couple of seconds. Remove from heat and set it aside. In a separate pan, fry the cashew nuts in 1 tbsp of ghee/butter till they are crisp. Add the roasted spices and cashew nuts to you cooked rice and ensure that the spices have blended well. Mix in the remaining butter/ghee to your rice and serve!
What is ghee? Ghee is clarified butter and works great with the above dish- The nuts and ghee accentuates the flavor of pepper and cumin to make it a wonderful dish!
Happy Pongal to all! Sending this recipe to an event hosted by a fellow blogger- Pongal fest event