Rice Pongal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Rice is served more than a few times a week in my kitchen, and though I do enjoy plain basmati rice with some butter, or some curried dal poured over top, I like to experiment with various flavour combinations. My latest preparation was inspired by Dakshin, a beautiful cookbook featuring some jewels from South India. Pongal is a dish consisting of rice, lentils and spices. Rather moist in consistency, it's balanced enough to be served as a meal by itself, perhaps with some flatbread, or you can serve it as part of a larger meal with another legume dish, and some vegetables.

I'd also like to share some exciting news with my readers. Lisa's Kitchen is the featured blog this month for Tried and Tasted, a monthly event started by Zlamushka and hosted this month by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. For those unfamiliar with the event, each month a different blog is featured and participants are invited to browse through the archives and try some of the recipes and post about their experience. I'm flattered to be the focus this month, and I can't wait to see which recipes my fellow cooks choose. Maintaining a food blog is a lot of work, but the rewards are many and asides from the friends I have made and the lovely comments and feedback, one of the greatest returns for my efforts is knowing that others are preparing and enjoying my creations.
Rice Pongal

1/4 cup of raw cashews, halved
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 cup of basmati rice
1/2 cup of split mung beans (moong dal)
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
4 1/2 cups of water

3 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon of asafoetida powder
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
handful of dry curry leaves
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of dried coconut

Rinse the rice well in a fine strainer. Transfer to bowl, cover with water, swish it around a few times, drain and repeat until the water is relatively clear and no longer cloudy. Drain, cover with water and soak the rice for about 20 minutes or longer. Drain and set aside to air dry for 15 minutes or so.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the cashews and stir and fry until they turn brown - roughly 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a large pot or wok, dry roast the rice for 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium large saucepan. Now dry roast the moong dal in the wok or large pot for 5 minutes. Wash in a strainer and add to the pot with the rice, along with the turmeric and 4 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer until the dal and rice is cooked and the water is mostly evaporated - roughly 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of ghee in a large wok of pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin, cracked black pepper, asafoetida, ginger and the curry leaves. Stir and fry for a minute. Add the rice and dal to the pan, along with the coconut and salt and cook for another few minutes, adding a bit of water to the pan if desired.

Garnish with the roasted cashews.

Serves 6.
More delightful rice dishes:
Lime Flavoured Rice with Split Peas
Lemon Rice with Toasted Cashews
Tamarind Rice
Cracked Black Pepper Rice


DEESHA said...

this is such simple comfort food, I absolutely love it

Madhumathi said...

My fav comfort food.Looks divine!

Suparna said...

Pongal is a healthy and filling comfort food, love it with cashews. Nice click

Holler said...

Can't wait to see what everyone picks!

Konkani Foodie said...

I really like the collection of rice recipes on your blog. You have a great website !!