Lentil based Savoury Rice (Khara Pongal)

Think of a one pot meal and this is one of my favorite. A quick and easy one pot meal for any weekday night. When I mom would make it she would serve it with coconut chutney. This dish was also made every year in January at home on the day of Pongal which is the festival celebrating the harvest season.

Pongal is traditionally cooked in mud pots over an open log fire at the break of dawn as the sun rises to thank the sun god for the harvests of that year. A dish to enjoy through out the year and a whole hearty meal. Its a popular breakfast dish eaten in southern India with chutney and sambhar (a lentil based vegetable curry) or on its own.

AsafoetidaA pinch
Cashew nuts6
Coriander leaves1/4 cup
Cumin Seeds1 tbsp
Curry Leaves8
Ghee2 tbsp
Ginger1 inch piece
Green Chilies2
Mustard SeedsA pinch
Peppercorns1 tsp
Pepper Powder1/2 tsp
Rice1 cup
SaltTo taste
Turmeric PowderA pinch
Water6 cups
Yellow Mung Lentil1 cup

  1. Prep the ingredients: Halve the cashew nuts. Finely chop the green chilies, ginger and coriander leaves.
  2. Saute the grains: Saute the rice and yellow mung lentils separately in a pan till they both leave out a nice flavour. The roasting helps release the aroma from the grains.
  3. Toast the nuts: In a pressure cooker heat ghee and toast the cashew nuts. Keep the cashew nuts separate. 
  4. Prepare the seasoning:In the same pressure cooker, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.Once the mustard pops, add the whole peppercorns, asafoetida, ginger and chilies. Saute for a minute and then add the cumin seeds. 
  5. Cook the Lentils: To the pressure coooker, now add the rice and lentils that were saute-ed. Add water, turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt and pressure cook for 4 whistles. 
  6. Mix in the chopped coriander leaves and the toasted cashew nuts. Serve the pongal hot with chutney or sambhar. 

  1. The rice to lentil ratio for this recipe is 1:1.
  2. Add additional water to adjust the consistency of the pongal to your taste.
  3. Check out the Peanut chutney recipe or the Sambhar recipe that goes perfectly with this pongal.


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