Pongal special: Celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur shares the age-old recipe for Pongal with a healthier twist
Pongal a four-day-long festival that celebrates harvest season in Tamil Nadu is similar to what we call Lohri in North India and Makar Sankranti in the East. "Over the past few years during my travel to the south of India, I was fortunate to be in Chennai during Pongal and tasted both the sweet and the savoury version of the Pongal dish. Venn Pongal is the savoury version which uses freshly harvested rice and moong dal to prepare a simple dish that goes first as offerings to gods and later savoured as a prasadam," tells celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur.
Pongal is a dish that is nutritious and can be had at any time of the day. If you want to prepare Pongal for your family and want to make it extra nutritious then you can replace rice with any other grains including oats, amaranth, millets or quinoa. Enjoy this slightly healthy and delicious version of the Venn Pongal.
Raw Rice - 1cup | Moong daal (without skin) - ½ cup | Salt to taste |Water - 6 cups | Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil - 4 tbsp | Cashew nuts - a handful | Heeng - a generous pinch | Peppercorn - 12 nos | Cumin seeds - 1tsp | Green chilli chopped - 1 | Curry leaves - a handful | Ginger chopped - 1 tbsp
Heat a deep pan on medium heat dry roast the rice and moong daal together for 3-4 mins. This enhances the flavour of the final dish.
Now add 6 cups of water and salt. Cover and cook till the rice and dal are all mashed up.
Remove and keep aside.
In a separate pan add half the virgin coconut oil and add cashew nuts. Cook on low heat till cashew nuts start to change colour then remove them.
In the same pan add the rest of the virgin coconut oil and once sufficiently hot add heeng.
Stir and add peppercorns and cumin. Saute and now add chopped ginger, green chilli and curry leaves. Saute for a minute, add the browned cashewnuts and to this tempering add the boiled rice & dal.
Mix together and check for seasoning.
Toss and serve hot.