Image posted in Aug 2008 🙂

I have to start by saying that i’m writing this description on 01/14/2020. However, the initial recipe post was from 08/07/2008 and so is the above image. I just don’t feel like replacing the amateur image. 🙂

Pongal feast

Living in the USA and Pongal falling on a Wednesday means that we only get to enjoy this delicacy for dinner and not as a traditional breakfast. Hey no complaints here. There have been years when I was SO busy, I’ve had cereal on Pongal 🙁 . But not this year, yayyyyy!

Pressure cook rice and lentil with pepper corn and cumin

There are many versions of pongal and each family make it their own way. I myself make it in two different ways. When I make it as a quick breakfast when i’m craving Indian food, I don’t roast the lentil. I just soak rice, lentil and peppercorns for half hour to an hour and then pressure cook em along with crushed ginger, salt and turmeric and water. Once done, I will fry some cumin, curry leaves, red chilies and dump em into the pongal with a generous amount of ghee and give it a nice stir and call it a day. I also make brinjal kothsu as a heavenly side dish. mmm yummy.

Pressure cook with 4 cups water on medium heat for 2 whistles

The recipe I’m sharing here is more traditional that we make on the day of Pongal festival for breakfast. Its served with coconut chutney and Sambar and these combos are the bomb.

This steps is what gives pongal its unique flavor

Pongal or Shankaranti is a 4 day long Indian Harvest Festival and traditionally pongal dish is made using freshly harvested rice. Its more of a Thanksgiving festival celebrating a good harvest. You can read more about the tradition and images from villages in India here.

Ready to be devoured

Now on to the recipe…

Ven Pongal aka Kara Pongal

By sujeesha Published: August 7, 2008

  • Yield: 5 Servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

Ven pongal recipe I'm sharing here is the traditional way of making it on the day of Pongal festival for breakfast. Its served with coconut chutney and Sambar and these combos are the bomb.



  1. Dry roast lentil in a pressure cooker until fragrant. Let cool.
  2. Add rice and wash them 3 times in plenty of water. Drain and add 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker with rice and lentil.
  3. Add half the peppercorns and salt to taste.
  4. Pressure cook on medium for 2 whistles.
  5. After pressure releases naturally, open the lid, add 2 tbsp ghee and stir.
  6. Heat remaining ghee in a small frying pan.
  7. Tip in cashews and fry till golden. Remove cashews from ghee and throw into the pongal and mix
  8. To the same frying pan add more ghee if required and add cumin and remaining peppercorns. Allow to splutter.
  9. Then add crushed ginger, green chilies, curry leaves and saute till fragrant.
  10. Sprinkle turmeric and asafetida in the very end, give it a quick stir and pour this onto the pongal and stir.
  11. Check for salt, add more ghee if desired and simmer for couple of minutes.
  12. Delicious pongal is ready to be devoured with some coconut chutney and sambar.