Ven pongal-Ghee pongal-A South Indian Breakfast

Ven Pongal - Ghee pongalVen Pongal or Ghee Pongal is the most common breakfast items of Tamilnadu. It is so comforting that my husband always looks for Pongal when he goes to hotel.  It is a trusted food as there is not much of oil in it and is well cooked.

Ven Pongal is a minimalist dish using very common kitchen ingredients and cooked in a simple manner. As a kid, I never used to like Pongal and would insist my mother to make tiffin sambar as combination ( I drink sambar). However when Pongal is given as a prasadam in Dhanur month (Margazhi) early morning Pooja at nearby temple, I do not mind eating it as it is. Hot scooped pongal in “dhonnai” is something to crave far. Every day invariably it will only be Pongal as a prasadam and I never think twice to get my share. It is the divine grace coupled with chill morning  makes Pongal very special.

My younger son’s birthday falls in Margazhi and we usually sponsor his birthday Pooja in the temple nearby. As a kid, he enjoys giving the prasadam to people. I feel it is a great way to start your day.

Tanjore cuisine is famous for Pongal and Gotsu. Chidambaram Gotsu deserves GI tag, will talk about it in a later post. Here I will share authentic way of making Pongal.

Do let me know your feedback on this recipe.


Ven Pongal/ Ghee Pongal

 Recipe Cuisine: Indian   | Recipe Category: Side dish

Prep time: 15 mins |Cook time:  20 min | standing time: 10 min| Serves: 4



Yellow split moong dal – ¼ cup

Raw rice – 1 cup

Water – 3 and ½ cup

Salt – as needed

Turmeric – a pinch

Ghee – 2 tablespoon

To temper:

Whole Pepper corn – 1 tablespoon

Jeera – 1 tablespoon

Cashew – a few pieces

Ghee – 1 Tsp

Curry leaves – 1 spring

Ginger (grated/chopped) – 1 tablespoon


  1. Dry roast moong dal in a kadai in low flame till nice aroma arises. Moong dal should not change in color or burn. Hence roast in low flame with constant stirring.
  2. Switch off the flame and add rice to the kadai and keep stirring. Let rice absorb some heat, which would help it cook to mushy consistency faster.
  3. Transfer to a pressure cooker. Add turmeric, water and cook like rice. I cook for 5 whistles or about 15 min of time.
  4. Once pressure releases, add salt and mash the rice when it is hot.
  5. In a kadai heat ghee and add pepper followed by cashew. When cashew turns golden, add jeera and switch off flame. Add ginger and curry leaves to kadai and let them cook in the remaining heat.
  6. Add the tempered items to the Pongal and mix well. Adjust salt.
  7. Flatten the Pongal and finally add two spoons of ghee on top. When ghee melts in the heat of Pongal, spread it to cover the Pongal as a whole. Do not mix ghee at this stage.
  8. Let Pongal stand for 10 min before serving.

Related : Coconut chutney and tiffin sambar


  1. Adding ghee at the end helps in the texture. Ghee will not be absorbed if you allow standing time. This method is followed by hotels.
  2. You can crush pepper and jeera and add. It would help in making children eat pepper.
  3. Jeera and ginger gives the flavor to Pongal. Ensure that Jeera is not burnt.
  4. During the harvest season (Thai month of Tamil), you will get newly harvested rice. This rice is best for Pongal. If you are using new rice, reduce the water slightly.
  5. Pongal made with Jeeraga samba rice tastes divine. Rice itself gives the flavor of jeera.
  6. Pongal absorb bit more water and become thick in the standing time. So adjust consistency accordingly.
  7. Taste for Pongal comes from salt, and hence adjust it appropriately.


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