Venn Pongal - Time to rejoice!

Last weekend, I made a traditional dish, that I have not made in years. It is called Venn Pongal, which is made with Rice and Split Mung Beans. It is a delicious dish that is served for the special occasion of Pongal Festival and also for breakfast in many a South Indian home/establishment.

Don't get me wrong: I ain't saying it is a low-carb dish. But, anything done in moderation, does not lead to disaster, if you ask me.

Pongal is often served with Sambar and Chutney. In South Indian Brahmin homes, Pongal is served with Onion Gotsu, a sour and spicy gravy. I made the Onion Gotsu on this particular day. In addition, I made two different kinds of chutneys: 1) my usual coconut chutney and 2) a Tomato Chutney, for which I got the recipe from Chitra Amma's Kitchen.

People also serve Pongal with Medhu Vadai - a deep-friend white lentil patty. While I seldom deep-fry things, I did make some Masala Vadai on this particular day. I have not posted any pictures of the Masala Vadai, because I only made a couple and I ate them before taking a photo - Oops! But, not to worry. I still have more batter in the fridge. I will make some more and post some pictures of the Masala Vadai and the recipe.

Recipe for Pongal

Ingredients:
1 cup rice
1 cup Split Mung beans
2 Tbsp finely diced ginger
2 Tbsp finely chopped green chili
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
20 whole cashews
1 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 Tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp Ghee
2 cups of water
Pinch of asafetida, salt

Preparation:
Cook the rice and mung beans in a rice cooker or pressure cooker. Cook them mushy.
In a large pot, heat up the ghee. When hot, add the mustard seeds and turn down the heat.
Once the mustard seeds are done spluttering, asafetida, add the black peppercorns, chopped curry leaves, ginger and cashews.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Add the cooked rice + mung beans.
Stir in the salt.
Cook on very low heat until all of the water has evaporated.
Garnish with cilantro.

Recipe for Coconut Chutney (my version)

Recipe for Tomato Chutney (from Chitra Amma's Kitchen)

Recipe for Onion Gotsu

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp tamarind paste
1 Tbsp finely chopped curry leaves
1-2 cup diced onions
1 Tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp Sesame seed oil
2 cups of water
Pinch of asafetida, salt

Preparation:
In a large pot, heat up the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and turn down the heat.
Once the mustard seeds are done spluttering, add the asafetida, chopped curry leaves, onions and stir for a minute, until the curry leaves are sautéed.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Add the tamarind paste, sambar powder.
Stir in the salt.
Cook on very low heat until the mixture thickens - should not be too runny, should be more like a chunky thick salsa!

Pictured below - Venn Pongal last seen with some good tasting coconut chutney, tomato chutney and Onion Gotsu.
Bon appétit :)

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