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40 mins
Pongal Recipe


An Ideal Recipe for Vegetarians
Mamtha Sunil Kumar

Recipe by  

Makara Sankranthi (or Pongal) is the harvest festival celebrated right across India, though it is more popular in the rice producing states of southern India. The special dish made on this occasion is called Pongal and is a simple yet mouth-watering delicacy made from freshly harvested rice. This dish is usually cooked outdoors in the community centres with all the farmers' wives participating but obviously you can make it at home too (as I certainly hope you will).

      Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients for Pongal

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
If you want to know more about Indian ingredients, check our Indian Spices and our Indian Pulses, Rice and Seeds pages.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 4:
6 oz
split green grams (mung or moong beans)
10 - 12
cashew nuts
1 teaspoon
cumin seeds
1 teaspoon
ground black pepper
2 pinches
asafoetida (giant fennel)
green chilie
½ inch
fresh ginger
6 - 8
curry leaves
1 tablespoon
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon
ghee (clarified butter or drawn butter)
6 oz
1 pinch
turmeric powder


How to Cook Pongal

  1. Place a wide shallow frying pan on a low heat and lightly dry roast the split green grams (mung beans) for a couple of minutes until you can smell their aroma. Don't allow them to brown as this will spoil the flavour of the whole dish. Remove them from the heat and set aside.
  2. Peel and finely chop the ginger and break the cashews into small pieces. Rinse the rice in cold water to remove excess starch, finely chop the green chilie and asafetida and have all the ingredients immediately ready to use. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of ghee to a large pan over a medium-high heat. When hot (don't allow to burn) add the cashews, freshly ground black pepper, cumin seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, ginger, curry leaves and green chilies.
  3. Stir well, and add the roasted split gram (mung beans) and the washed rice and a pinch of turmeric, then add ½ pint (300ml) of water. Add salt to taste and bring the water to the boil. Cover with a heavy lid and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the rice is cooked evenly. Once the rice is cooked and tender remove from the heat and serve hot.

If you think the rice seems too dry, add a little more water and salt and continue cooking over a medium/low heat. You can stir in a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter or drawn butter) just before serving. It makes the Pongal even more yummy to eat.
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