Ven Pongal (Spicy South Indian Tiffin Rice)

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Ven Pongal (Spicy South Indian Tiffin Rice)

This delightful spiced rice and split mung dal dish with toasted cashews is typically prepared as an everyday breakfast in south India were it is cooked to be creamy or almost mushy, but I made a drier version to serve as a dinner dish along with this amazing coconut tamarind chutney. Adapted from "Mysore Style Cooking" by V. Sandhya, you won't be lacking for nourishment no matter the time of day you serve this dish. So easy to digest, it is perfect for those recovering from an ailment. South Indian cuisine is my new passion.

Ven Pongal (Spicy South Indian Tiffin Rice)Ven Pongal (Spicy South Indian Tiffin Rice)
Recipe by
Adapted from Mysore Style Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 20, 2011

Simple, flavorful and nourishing spiced rice with split mung beans and toasted cashews — a classic and popular south Indian breakfast dish, this is equally delicious served for lunch or dinner

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  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup split mung dal
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, split
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 green or red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
  • Thoroughly rinse the rice and split mung dal and soak in several inches of water for 20 minutes. Drain and let dry in a strainer for 15 minutes or longer, tossing the grains and dals once in a while.

  • Meanwhile, toast the split cashews in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing or stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.

  • Once the rice and mung dal are dry, transfer to a skillet and toast over medium heat for several minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large saucepan, pour in the water and add the turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dal and rice are tender. Remove from heat.

  • For the tempering, heat the ghee, butter or oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, asafetida, ginger, chilies, curry leaves and parsley or cilantro. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, the gently stir into the cooked rice and dal. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

  • Season with salt and pepper and stir in the coconut. Serve hot or warm garnished with the toasted cashews.

Makes 4 servings
Ven Pongal (Spicy South Indian Tiffin Rice)

More South Indian recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Tamarind Chickpeas
Carrot Sambar
Spicy Tamarind Black Beans
Mung Bean and Tamarind Dal

On the top of the reading stack: Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi


Brindavan in the bay area said...

I usually mix in a cup of milk in the end, gives it a nice creamy feel

Unknown said...

wow, well done dear, a great execution :)

KrithisKitchen said...

Creamy and delicious.. ghee makes it so divine..
Event: Healing Foods - Banana

Priya Suresh said...

Our family favourite, delicious!

Indian Khana said...

Looks so yum...

Paula @ Cookware Cooking said...

This looks wonderful and tasty. Thanks for posting!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Sounds great Lisa. Graham would love this one, he never says no to cashew nuts :)

Miri said...

Its a little dryer than pongal what is normally served for breakfast, so may be a tbsp of milk at the end to round it up may be nice. This is such a comforting dish!

Suzanne said...

Looks interesting yet yummy too!

Noodlehead said...

Oh yummy! In South India, these are usually eaten with deep fried, crispy lentil balls called vadas. The crispiness is perfect with the creaminess from the pongal! In Bangalore they serve Pongal with raita and in Chennai it comes with chutney. All yummy combos!

Btw, if you haven't already, you should try the sweet version of this. It's simply superb!!! I think I like it better than the savory version.