“Ven Pongal” literally means a large pot of rice that is cooked with spices for festive occasions. Traditionally hailing from the South of India this dish is made in sweet and savoury versions around my birthday in January. The savoury version holds a special place in my heart for the warm comforting feeling that it brings. It usually makes an appearance in winter because of its warmth and goodness. Also, the added bonus of being onion and garlic free fits perfectly with festival cooking. Soul food at its best!
- Basmati Rice, rinsed and soaked – 1 cup
- Split Yellow Mung Beans, rinsed and soaked – 1/2 cup
- Curry Leaves – 8 to 10
- Black Pepper, freshly ground – 2 teaspoons
- Cashew Nuts – 1 tablespoon
- Coconut Oil – 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon to drizzle on top
- Salt, to taste
- Water – 3 to 4 cups
- Heat the coconut oil in a thick bottomed pan (I used my pressure cooker).
- Add the cashews and fry till they look golden.
- Tip in the curry leaves, rice, mung beans and salt.
- Cook on high until mushy, approximately 10 minutes in the pressure cooker.
- Take off the heat and mix well into a creamy consistency. Add more water at this stage to get the perfect soft porridge consistency.
Garnish with coconut oil drizzled on the top and sprinkled with freshly ground Black Pepper. Enjoy!